As a writer, I find possible plot ideas in everything from crazy dreams to news articles to childhood memories to things that occur in my own children's lives. It may be a a really cool setting I stumble upon while traveling or some oddball character I run into, even a song on the radio - anything and everything can trigger an idea for me. Something really tragic can have occurred, and my writer's voice is busy weaving it into a plot. I know this is true for most writers, but I thought I was the only one in my immediate family who thought this way until last week:
As I do every day, I met my two youngest kids at the bus stop after school. As soon as my son got off the bus, he launches into a story about the creepy substitute bus driver. My son tells me how this guy kept staring at him and his friends; how, once the driver realized he'd been caught staring, he donned a baseball cap and pulled it down, but the kids still knew he was staring, etc.
Now, the mom in me starts thinking : Should I be concerned? Is this guy a pervert? Does he have a criminal record?
While the writer in me is thinking: Maybe he's an alien come to earth to study humankind? Maybe he's an operative trying to get some govt. secret from one of the kids' parents? Maybe he is an escaped convict planning on taking kids hostage to clear his name . . .
These two different lines of thought are streaming through my mind all while my son is telling me his story. My daughter, who has also been listening to my son's story (and who, BTW, was also on the bus but must have been oblivious to the incident) suddenly stops walking and cries: "That's it! That's how the Bettys' can be murdered! On the bus!" and with that, she takes off flying down the sidewalk, backpack slamming against her little legs, rushing to get in the house to write down her new plot idea in her notebook.
What can I say? She is so like me . . .