BACK IN THE DARK AGES, I was in a music store. I was there to pick up some guitar strings. But there were others there, bent on other tasks. There was a guy there, leaning back in a folding chair, a blond electric guitar on his lap, the cord plugged into an Echoplex — something new at the time, which used tape effects to create a pseudo echo. He was just noodling runs and playing with the echo. It sounded pretty good to me. In fact, his ability made me jealous. But his reaction was instructive: “Wow!” he said.
“Even bullshit sounds good on this thing!”
Non-writers ask storytellers all the time, “Where do you get your ideas.” The real answer — no matter the one actually given — is that the problem is not getting enough, but dealing with too many. They’re in the air. As Heinlein put it, “It’s raining soup. Grab yourself a bucket.” Speaking of Heinlein….
You know it’s funny. There’s a raft of ideas in that letter from Heinlein to Sturgeon. And all of them are still available for an imaginative writer to grab hold of by the ears and have his/her way with it. In fact, I think I detect one that Heinlein himself later did that with. (Your guesses in comments.)