“… I've never seen her so angry before.”
“If Frank hadn't been around, I don't know what…”
When you take a walk or sit down in the park, you will hear a lot of snippets of conversations. Some of these can inspire you to come up with your own stories, if you ask yourself further questions, like:
Why was she angry? What had happened to her? How did she show her anger?
And then, depending on your genre, ask even more into the matter:
Romance: Did he cheat on her? With whom? What was the consequences?
Horror: How did her anger play out? Did she brutally kill him with a wood-shredder? Did he come back as a ghost to haunt her?
Even if you can't hear or understand the surrounding people, you can find inspiration in their body language. Are they agitated? Why? Make it up. Are they happy? Relaxed? What will happen next?
You don't have to have a notebook and pen with you, but go over good ideas in your mind many times. And as soon as you get home, write down your inspiration.
By coincidence yesterday for my creative writing class at work, I did something like this. I got the idea from this book. I have an earlier edition, which I got when it came out in 1995. I have been using ideas from this book for the class as well for myself. The exercise is entitled "Legitimate Eavesdropping." The participants in my class and I went across the street to a coffee shop for about 20 minutes to take notes on what we could hear. I warned them to be inconspicuous as they took notes. I managed to sit down at the coffee shop and take notes without anyone suspecting a thing, including two girls nearby me who were working on a laptop. Others I saw and observed from a distance, including the workers at the counter and some customers they were talking to.
After about 20 minutes, the class then returned to our center and wrote down what they had observed. Most of them thought the exercise was fun, since we go to go outside of work to do some writing. I now have other writing exercises planned that will require going outside or to the coffee shop or other nearby places.
I also came across this blog post today: