Recently I spoke at a junior high school to students about writing. Each class that came through ask me "How do you get your ideas?" It never occurred to me that the average person doesn't have a stream of plots, conversations or characters moving in and out of their head on a daily basis. I realized that those ideas came from somewhere. Maybe I'm just a little more curious about what is going on around me but I record a lot of information that may later inspire a story. Here are some of my idea catchers.
Film & Television
YouTube Documentaries News Programs
Watch something unfamiliar on television or your DVR with the sound turned off. You write the script.
Movies that explore cultures
1. National Geographic
2. Tour brochures
3. Post Cards
4. Real Estate Ads
5. News Journals
a. Cut out headlines or articles
6. Keep it in a journal for future reference.
Here are some ideas where you might get ideas on that allusive character you need to make your story more exciting and interesting.
1. Coffee Shops 6. Parks 11. Transportation
2. Book Stores 7. Sporting Events 12. Medical Facility
3. Festivals 8. Sporting Stores like Bass Pro 13. Vacations
4. Museums 9. Libraries 14. Family Reunions
5. Zoos 10. Parks 15. Concerts