Inspiration for some of the most fascinating characters you might ever write could be living next door or on the next street over or it might be someone you see in the local grocery store or at Starbuck's.
Have you ever sat in a restaurant, looked around, and in your mind made up character backstories for the people you see there?
Try it out on a neighbor or two. See what you get.
The inspiration for this post comes from a taxi ride I took several weeks ago. In our neighborhood, the local taxi service is a van that goes around and picks up people until the van is full then drops them off at their local destinations.
On one trip, the van picked up a very eccentric older lady who lived alone in a very large near-mansion style house. She was very friendly and talky (a sign of loneliness) and was impeccably dressed and groomed. So she had the mental wherewithal to take good care of herself.
But her luxury home's front lawn and yard was filled to the gills with plastic statues and ceramics, animals and even Santa Claus, fake plants and flowers, miniature elf houses and giant elf statues and so on.
It was definitely a wonderland for the imagination, but I know the area and I know her immediate neighbors have already probably filed numerous complaints with the homeowner's association and the building code enforcement department. Apparently, she is not breaking any laws because her statues remain.
She happened to catch the same van ride home again that I did and she invited me to come by sometime for a tour of all her "babies." She would introduce me to them.
And she confessed to me that she often called on the taxi service (she had two big luxury cars in her driveway) just to be around other people and have someone to talk to. After she was dropped off, the taxi driver said all the drivers knew she did that but they didn't mind, she paid her fare the same as anyone else. They just minded at busy times when the wait for the taxi could go up to two hours. They thought her reason for calling the taxi was not as urgent as other peoples' reasons. I'm not sure I agree with that.
But that's one interesting "character" in my neighborhood that just might show up in my writing.
Do you have any interesting characters in your own neighborhood?