Go to http://www.humansofnewyork.com/ (also linked to in the EXTERNAL LINK) and click on the "stories" tab at the top. This is a website by a photographer named Brandon Stanton who travels the streets of New York and photographs the people he meets. He walks up to random strangers and strikes up a conversation with them, and gosh are they mind blowingly interesting. This site is full of thousands of extremely diverse people from all walks of life telling their stories. Just peruse through a few of them and your head will be spinning with story ideas.
I was just reading a post about Brandon walking up to two gangsters and asking them about their gang life. You'd think poor Brandon would get shot or mugged or something, but quite the contrary. From a few sincere questions, Brandon got these thugs to open up about their experience in a gang, how now they have a "cancer" bike they use to help raise money for cancer, because a member's wife has cancer. They talked about how their old life was about fighting other gangs for mere street corners, but eventually they learned that nothing belongs to nobody, and now they work to protect the neighborhood instead.
There was another story about this old man dancing around and running for no reason. Brandon went up to him and here's a snippet from their conversation:
“What’s your story?”
“I’m a mystic,” he said. His eyes were smiling.
“Am I saying your name right? Bah-Lah?”
“Yes,” he said. “My wife passed away a few years back. Her name was Barbara, I used to call her Ba. My name was Lawrence, she used to call me La. When she died, I change my name to Bala.”
You will be hard-pressed to find a more diverse collection of stories. Please check this out and get so inspired for stories and characters and settings that your head will explode. :)
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