One of my favourite authors is Neil Gaiman. You can see because I post quotes from him every now and then on this blog that has been running, what, two days? I'll continue to do so. He's amazing with words and I enjoy reading his works (Sandman, obviously, is a stand out favourite, as well as Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders and Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions) to such a degree that his work influences my own. I don't like it, because it always feels like I'm some kind of pale reflection of him, because let's be honest, I'll never reach the pinnacle he has reached with his talent, but I try, I persevere... anyways, this essay Neil Gaiman's "Where Do You Get Your Ideas?" is something we should all read. I love it. It makes sense more so than anything you'll ever get taught, and it means something.
In the beginning, I used to tell people the not very funny answers, the flip ones: 'From the Idea-of-the-Month Club,' I'd say, or 'From a little ideas shop in Bognor Regis,' 'From a dusty old book full of ideas in my basement,' or even 'From Pete Atkins.' (The last is slightly esoteric, and may need a little explanation. Pete Atkins is a screenwriter and novelist friend of mine, and we decided a while ago that when asked, I would say that I got them from him, and he'd say he got them from me. It seemed to make sense at the time.)