One question children always ask me as an author is how I come up with my stories. My response to them is that writing is a lot like playing with toys. When I was child, I would act out story lines with action figures that would last for days. Writing is just a grown up way of doing the same thing.
Around the holidays, I always feel this analogy more intently as the days after Christmas were spent nearly absorbed in new toys and new stories. As I got older, these days meant being engrossed in new books and music, leading to more stories. This is the time of year when I make deposits in the idea bank for slow withdraw over the year.
First deposit was made on Christmas Eve morning when I woke from a strange dream about my first kiss with the idea for a novel. If I need to write that check later, it's nice to know I can cover it. I've also thrown ghosts and mermaids in the safe. There's not much to them right now, but they'll accumulate interest over the year.