One of my first jobs was to work as a researcher in a large picture library. Here millions of pictures were filed away and it was my job to locate those needed by publishers, writers and the media. And, in a spare moment, I used to enjoy looking at some of the earlier photos - especially those taken in the 1850s - and study the scenes and the faces of those photographed.
Very rarely were the names of these people given - they were just faces staring back from a time long ago.
And I used to wonder what they were like. How they fared. And the type of existence they lived.
And I found photographs a great way to stimulate the imagination.
Next time you are leafing through photographs (especially old ones and of people you do not know), take a moment to study their faces and imagine what they were actually like.
It is by wondering story ideas and characters are born.
When you can, try this photograph idea. I think you'll find it effective.