For many years I have been a member of the Codex Writers, an online writing forum. One of the things we do on Codex is hold writing contests to encourage the writing of new stories. (IGMS has actually published several stories that came out of Codex contests: James Maxey's "To Know All Things That Are in the Earth" and "Silent as Dust," Tom Pendergrass's "Aim for the Stars," Scott M. Roberts's "The End of the World Pool," and my own "Like Diamond Tears from Emerald Eyes.")
One of our traditional contests is the Weekend Warrior Contest, which involves writing a flash fiction story each weekend for several weeks. The story prompts are given out Saturday morning and the story is due Sunday night.
The prompt that inspired this particular story was this: "Write about a magical vehicle (boat, jet, palanquin, etc) with a secret curse."
I'm afraid I don't remember the exact though process that led me to the idea of a car that could never be late, but once I had that, the "curse" was a logical consequence of how the magic worked. I called the story "Early" and submitted it for the contest that weekend. It did not place in the top three, but I did get some useful comments from the people who read it.
I revised and expanded the story (it's about 60% longer than it was originally) and took it to my writing groups for feedback. Finally, I submitted it to IGMS, and Edmund bought it, although he wanted a couple more changes that strengthened the story.
--Eric James Stone