This is sooo true for me. How about you? You see something while shopping in the mall or hear something while waiting in line at the grocery store and you file it away to use in your writing. Often we know that it's a moment to save. It happens and there's this little voice that says, "I'm going to make my character say that or do that."
For example, a co-worker's mom recently shared a story of how she found an empty container of icing hidden under his bed when he was younger. The container had drawn ants. BINGO! That's a great thing for the protagonist to do in my newest middle grade.
I have a notebook that I use to record snippets of conversations I hear or jot down observations (The front teeth of the man who works at the store are uneven. One is higher then the other.) I also use it to collect unusual or funny names. Mock, the teacher in my newest middle grade, was the last name of someone I "met" on Twitter.
How about you? What's an idea or observation from real life that ended up in your fiction?