|Let your ideas take a different track.|
What sparked this post--and I struggle half the time to come up with these ideas--was doing an ordinary task and letting my mind wander. I was bagging leaves in the back yard and set an armful into the bag. A few of them floated away, attempting escape. I hurriedly caught the ones I could. The leaves suddenly became 'people' that I was saving from certain doom if they touched the earth. The next handful became the opposite--people who were sentenced to death by my putting them in 'the volcano'. Those that escaped were the lucky ones. It was silly, but I recognized that we can come up with anything by taking the ordinary a step or two further from reality, by making observations, by seeing with new eyes.
Just this week I noticed a book that took opposites and put them together. Vampires + fairies = vampire fairies. Who would have thought that could be successful? No matter what you're cooking up, the secret is to do it well. (Of course timing and other things come into play as well.) Another way to create an idea is to work backward. Where do you want a character to end up? Think of several paths he could have taken to get there, and pick the least likely one. It will feel like a plot twist.
How do you go about getting new ideas?