One of the most interesting interactions I can have during a week is when I tell a person who I meet out in the world what my profession is.
"Oh, really? How does that work?"
"Well, I sit down at my computer, and I type on a keyboard until I'm done typing on a keyboard."
"No, I mean, like...how do you come up with stuff? Where do you get your inspiration to write?"
Now, I generally have to stop them right there. Very little about writing is actually inspired. I know. I just burst a bunch of bubbles. I'd say I'm sorry, but I never lie in a Drivel piece. Not saying I lie everywhere else, or anywhere else, it's just that...
Okay, how about this? I never pull punches in a Drivel piece.
There. That's better.
"So you just come up with stuff?"
Let's take a moment to think about that one. In this particular case, the person is cutting my hair. I really hope she's not making up what she's doing as she goes. I really do. My whole head and many sharp objects are involved. I am trusting that she's had some exposure to the process before today.
The same concept applies to writing. I've spent years reading books, scribbling on pages, trying out cool and interesting ideas for characters, plots, turns of phrase, and so on. Just as, I am sure, she spent many years butchering practice hair belonging to people who walked into the school of cosmetology with the offer of a free haircut as long as they were willing to be human test subjects.
I think the same principles of training are at work here.
So yeah, I pretty much make stuff up. All the time. It's easier to say that and have them marvel that the brain inside the head that they're rapidly flashing all manner of bladed devices around has a special quality to it that makes me something special.
At least this time I didn't get asked if they've read anything I've written. That one usually results in me not being welcome back to wherever the scene takes place.