(Originally posted on the Ink Jerkers blog on 8 August 2017.)
Likely the most common question asked of creators is, "where do you get your ideas?" And the usual answer is, "everywhere!" In all we read, watch and live through, countless little experiences we blend into a unique whole.
Sometimes, however, inspiration can be much more direct than that. The Wolf With the Red Cap was prompted by a mature, gender-bent illustration of the story. Collectivity is what TVTropes calls a Fix Fic, loosely based on a certain space opera franchise. Dead of Night and The Watch are based directly on dreams I had. Dragon's Wish comes from somebody else's dream that they told me. And so on.
If such a source of inspiration presents itself, take it! Don't waste the opportunity. So what if the result may seem derivative to some? All art is, pretty much by definition. Even cave paintings were based on the day-to-day life of those who made them. You won't know if you're bringing something new to the conversation until you try. So dare create.