Novels are often inspired by specific events that have lingered in the authors’ memories. In this article Writer’s Relief found at LitHub.com, one example given is how Jack London’s Call of the Wild is based on his adventures in Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. But if you look for the particular seed this novel grew from, you’ll learn that London fixated on the vital role of sledding dogs in Alaska. However, the small moment does not have to be personal: When George Saunders talks about the seed for his novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, he recalls his wife’s cousin pointing out a crypt in which Abraham Lincoln’s young son, Willie, was interred. Two decades later, this tucked-away moment became the inspiration for Saunders’s book.
Read more about how small moments provide the seeds for great novels here.