Dinner time with my family is often an odd occasion. We all have this ability to 'hyperlink think', where one of us will say something that sparks what on the surface feels completely unrelated by someone else, but is actually associated.
The scary part is that we can almost always see the association.
The other night, my husband ended up using a fragment of the Stealers Wheel song, "Stuck in the Middle with You". The "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right" morphed in my writer's brain to "vampires to the left of me, werewolves to the right. . . " Hubby helped me find a character and a situation to go with my strange fragment and a story idea was born..
Over the next few days, I wrote that 4,000 word short story and in the process created a world, a character, and a supernatural mythology that is complex enough to carry a novel.
For now, I'm going to polish the short until it's ready to send out into the world, and am not going to dive into the start of another novel. At least not until we're back from central Asia. I want to leave myself open to finding some new story ideas and mythologies.
I know the characters and their problems will wait for me.