This is not meant to be a treatise on short story writing. Far be it for me to advise anyone on the subject. I prefer to say how it is that I do it so you can learn all of the pitfalls in one go.
I find inspiration in the most unlikely places.
Shopping malls are great, there is so many things going on, so many different types of people, there’s often enough to fill a journal.
Driving on the roads, you get to see some of the most amazing stunt driving, and it’s not even being filmed, it’s just playing out before your very eyes.
Waiting in hospitals, waiting for doctors, accountants, dentists, friends, hanging around coffee shops, cafes, bistros, restaurants, the list is endless.
But the best source, newspapers, and the more obscure the headline the better, and then just let your imagination run free, like:
Four deaths, four mysteries, all homeless.
This poses a few interesting scenarios, such as, were they homeless or were they made to look like they’re homeless. Are they connected in any way?
The point is, far from the original story that simply covers four seemingly random murders, a writer can turn this into a thriller very easily.
It could follow a similar headline in another country where three headlines could be found, say, in London, where a man is found dead in an abandoned building, a week after he died, with no obvious signs of how he died.
A woman is killed in what seems from the outset an accident involving two cars, where, after three days, the driver of the second vehicle just simply disappears.
A man is reported missing after not reporting for work when he was supposed to return from a vacation in Germany.
Where an obscure piece says that a man was found at the bottom of a mountain, presumed to have fallen in a climbing accident.
It’s all in the joining of the dots.