Our letter boxes gets filled up every day with all manner of junk mail and freebie newspapers. By all means, bin the junk, but don’t throw out the newspapers!
Local newspapers are filled with little incidents and snippets of stories that could be turned into full blown novels. I recently submitted a short story about a serial bike thief to a glossy weekly. The criminal, a local 14 year old, had managed to fill his parent’s garage with over 43 bicycles before someone noticed. I got the idea from a side column snippet about the disappearance of bicycles in my local area. Who knows, I may even create a full-blown fictional character from this story and write about his adventures and mishaps.
Cut and Keep
If you don’t want to keep the whole newspaper, make up a scrap book and cut out the stories that catch your eye. People do the strangest things and local journalists are good at reporting them. Of course, there are always good news stories as well. Why not base your next character on a local resident? …just remember to change their names!