I find it funny how when I decided to write my first novel, my family wasn't surprised. They just looked at me and went "Oh? That's nice. Good luck!" No questions. They could easily guess it was fantasy, and I did not leave time for more before I explained what NaNoWriMo was.
Now that I am working on my 4th and 5th story, however, I think they are beginning to understand I did not only have this one idea, shimmering under the surface, waiting to be told. I had many, and they kept coming.
This led to one question, which I am sure you've all heard: Where do you get all your ideas?
In my case, what happens most of the time is that I will notice a detail and linger on it, wondering what would happen if it became central to a story, or if I changed it. Sometimes I combine two of these. A few examples:
1. I wondered what would happen with a fantasy world in which magic did not appear with puberty. I chose to have it come with age (or infertility). From there I built a world, and from this world my current plot emerged. I struggled with it on quite a few occasions, and today the 'old magic' is a background element, but that's where it all started.
2. I read two novels recently in which there are a fair amount of vineyards in the world. It's never an important element, but a little voice in my mind says it would be cool if it was. It's on my list of Things to Write Someday.
3. I was watching something about hot air balloons on TV while listening to A Criminal Mind. My mind jumped from one to the other, and thought it would be cool if a balloon driver unknowingly took a criminal on board. This was the very beginning of White Echoes.
Anything can spark my initial ideas. It's more frequent when I read, but it has happened with music and TV and dreams. I grab passing thoughts and force them to stay, until I see their potential for an unique story element.
How about you? Where do you get ideas?