Steal like an artist.
Get some old issues of Wired Magazine. Issues before their writing turned into the equivalent of sound bites. Issues of the magazine where they talked to people, about people, and what the people did. You the writer have to come up with why the person did what they did. Autobiography are good to but remember that famous people will not tell you about the dirt. About the pile of bodies with knives in their backs that they are standing on. Bodies that they had to go over to get to where they are. There’s always someone in front of you, someone better than you. It’s your job to fill in who and how they knifed their way to the top.
One story I remember was about a guy who repaired used video slot machines he bought from Russia and sold them in his eastern European country. He hired people to redesign obsolete parts that the maker of the video slot machine was too cheap to do. His rebuilt machines were better than new machines. As time went on he sold the refurbished machine with the latest games on them to people in other countries. Then he started teaching other how to refurbish the machines to save on shipping cost. I liked the part where the US and European cops showed up at his factory and he didn’t expect it. How could he not see it coming? What was the guy thinking or not thinking? That a big gambling company (could there be Mob connections?) that made the machines would let him horn in on their business and not get revenge?
Can’t find back issues of Wired magazines? Then go to a used book store (or on line if you have too) and get several different copies of trivia books. Trivia adds realism to your story. Throw a few bits of random trivia in your story and it makes it sound like you really researched the story’s back ground. Mash trivia pieces up and try them as story ideas.
Also get a bunch of the Bathroom Reader books. You don’t think that works? In one of the books there was a foot note that a Russian prince taught the French to eat meals in courses. A barbaric Russian teaching the French how to eat, what an idea. What a story idea for a Steampunk story. Dinner with the mad Russian. Tell them you heard it here first.
Quote; Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. Rod Serling.
So go out and get emotionalized. And ideas do stink.
Stay strong, write on. Professor Hyram Voltage