I read a great quote the other day:
"Writers are vacuum cleaners who suck up other people's lives and weave them into stories like a sparrow builds a nest from scraps."
I read it in the December issue of "Writer's Digest" magazine (US). It was something that really struck a chord with me because I just happened to be eating breakfast in a cafe reading this particular magazine for the first time.
While I was reading - and enjoying some bacon and eggs with toast - there was an older lady and a young (teenage) Asian girl sitting next to me and the lady was telling the girl something of her childhood. Without going into it, her story sounded just fascinating. If I was a braver person I would have said something to her about writing her life. As fact it sounded incredible enough, if it was turned into fiction with some splashes of action, some dashes of daring and buckets of romance; wow, what a novel!
So the next time you are out at a cafe you might want to pay attention to what is being said around you because you never know what might be heard. And if you do hear something interesting then for Pete's sake write it down! There is probably no end of books that started from an overheard snippet of a conversation when the magical 'what if' gets applied to it.