I think it’s safe to say most of us have more ideas than we will ever get around to developing. They fly at us out of nowhere, and usually at the least convenient time (like when we’re driving, or in a meeting at work, out of a sound sleep at three o’clock in the morning when you can’t locate pen and paper, etc.).
Inspiration comes to me in many ways: Something I read, something I see on tv, something I overhear in a conversation, music I listen to, random thinking. So you can understand my puzzlement when I see messages on writing discussion boards, e-mail lists and the like, where writers send messages asking people to give them ideas for what to do with their stories.
I received at least three of these just today from different discussion boards. One person needed a title for an entertainment program that takes place in the story. A second person wanted unusual ideas about how to keep a future dystopian government from becoming cliché. Yet a third wanted exotic characters and creatures to populate the story with.
As an aspiring sci-fi/fantasy author, I’m not sure why I’d want to give away ideas for plots and characters, and alien life forms. Does this strike anyone else as odd? Are these people, in effect, asking others to give them a story? Should they then credit anyone who supplies ideas as co-authors?