The obvious answer to this is to write what you know. If you know computers write a computer hand book. Stick to what you know. Many former and current law enforcement officers write crime dramas. They translate their knowledge to fiction. That has worked well for attorneys like John Grisham as well.
Some people enjoy history. Write a historical fiction or focus on a single event for non-fiction. With historical fiction you can add flavor to the time and blend events into your story. This is one way to give readers a “feel” for your world. We covered worlds in the first edition of this series so I will not go into it all again here. When doing historical fiction however try to avoid historical figures. These people are known and you do not want to put words into their mouths that could be misinterpreted. Another possibility is that the things you have them say could be considered quotes from the person.
If you enjoy fantasy or sci-fi great! Write it. Create your own characters and situations. Character development is key here. How will your hero react under pressure? Ian Flemming gave James Bond an array of women to relieve his tension. Other authors have used various methods including alcoholism. They always come through in the end, sometimes it is just luck. The decision is yours. I think that all heroes, like all people, should have some faults, none of us is perfect. How they overcome those faults and the obstacles that go along with them is what makes them heroes.
We will go into character development in another article so let’s get back to our topic. Where should my ideas come from? Your imagination. I have a short story that might make a good plot for a novel. I got the idea while sitting in a casino lounge between poker hands. A lady was talking on her cellphone and told the rest of us after she had hung up a bit about the call. She was on vacation and was being bothered for information by the office where she worked. I took her story and transformed it a bit into a modern vampire story involving a blood bank instead of a doctors office. She was still the office manager and I wove the story around her and the people she described from her office.
The point is use what inspires you. Make sure that if you use an event such as I described that the figures are not recognizable and their names are changed. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Watch an airshow and write about giant birds, go to a fishing harbor and write the revenge of the clams, anything is possible. Those two ideas came to me as I wrote the sentence. Why you ask? I am writing on a legal pad in a park near a fishing harbor and it is under a landing path for the local airport. There is nothing like the smell of fresh clams and the roar of a 737 landing to inspire stories like those two. Go ahead and write your version of them, see where it goes. Take ideas and add a twist or two your twists will not be like the ones coming out of the next author, so have fun.