The other day I was walking downtown and had a sudden insight about a character. Ah-ha! I thought. That's how Winston finds out about that guy! I have insights about characters all the time, but what was special about this insight was the fact that I'm not actually working on that project right now--I put it aside about a year ago. That is to say, I put the files and notes aside. Apparently my brain has continued working on that novel while I wasn't paying any attention.
Today on Alexandra Sokoloff's blog, she talks about how a successful writer has had ideas simmering away their entire lives, and how those ideas boil down until they're needed. Some story ideas might go back to early childhood. Some might only be a few years old. Some ideas or images are so meaningful to a writer that they can inform multiple works!
I don't know when I'll get back to that project about Winston, but it's good to know that I know a bit more about him for the day I do!