I read obituaries. No...it isn't age-though I'm not a kid anymore. It's just that they live such fascinating lives and you wish you knew many of the people you read about. Often their interests, the happenings in their lives become a germ that floats around in my subconscious and emerges as something that happens to one of my characters. There is often a plot to a person's life-something that happens in childhood leads to something that happens to the teen, the adult, the old lady or man who will soon leave the world as he knows it behind. Leaving, if the person is remembered, a column on the obituary page.
News also triggers ideas for plots-plots that change as the words hit the page and the characters emerge and take over with, often, no resemblance at all to the original idea or character.
Ideas emerge when you least expect to. A meeting with a little known relative, a new friend, an overheard conversation in a restaurant or subway car-if the people talking exit before the end of the conversation so much the better. I can write a new ending.