I've talked a little bit about inspiration in the past, but since I don't have anything else interesting to say at the moment (I could go into detail on the process for where I'm at in A Wizard of Arade, but right now it's just getting characters from point A to point B without being boring, and trying to work in some character development while doing in so as not to make the process boring and pointless) I'm going to talk about some specific ideas and where they came from today.
Anyway, more on where I get a few of these ideas.
The interesting thing about ideas is that different people can get the same idea at different points, as is the case with today's two examples.
One concept I love from both fantasy and sci-fi is a way to instantly transport people from one place to another. It's a fun idea to play with, and makes the plot speed up too. I've loved this idea since I was a little kid.
My brother and I would play with our action figures from an early age. We started out with Batman, Wolverine, and a stuffed orca and dolphin. We had fun both telling stories with these characters, and challenging each other with ways to explain how two characters from vastly different universes were interacting, and have it make sense. Even at around age eight or so, I think we did a better job then almost all of the cross-over books of any kind I've ever read.
Probably the weakest link in our imaginary universe was that the dolphins and whales were from Pluto... that led to a whole new set of story and continuity challenges once we took elementary astronomy. Long story short, the dolphins were incredibly technically advanced, and one of their devices was called a Water-wall. It worked EXACTLY (down to effects and all) like a Stargate, with the exception that the dolphins could project the wormhole anywhere within a certain range. Imagine our shock when about ten years later we saw our idea in the Stargate movie, and later in Stargate SG-1.
I'd always intended to use this idea in another story at some point, but now had to modify it, or people would think I was just ripping off Stargate. (I will admit our idea may have been influence by the Iconian Gateway fom the Star Trek The Next Generation.)
Another device the dolphins in our imaginary universe had was a Sharkbuster belt. It featured the familiar fantasy plot of a small pouch that can hold an endless number of items. We thought, again, that we'd come with that idea on our own, but I've since seen it in a number of places, both older and newer than us. ;) (We did have a system all worked out for how it worked, basically a pocket dimensional portal...)
I 'm also re-cycling this idea in A Wizard of Arade, but trying not to focus on it for much other than comedic effect or convenience, since it isn't such an original idea after all.
So that's where two ideas come from, and an illustration of how ideas can not be so original after all. They say to read a lot before one writes, and this is one example of why. Knowing what's been done before can challenge you to stretch your imagination. "There is nothing new under the sun," but it's sure fun finding new ways to tell old stories.