Since high school, I have always told stories in the old bardic tradition. That is, by passing them on in word of mouth. When folks ask where I get the ideas for some of my own tales, I can’t help by be surprised.
Someone once commented that the biggest problem with writing fiction is that you have to make it believable. In many cases, real-life is not. We are surrounded by marvellous tales that defy explanation and any one of them can be used by the aspiring author as a jump-start for their muse. Allow me to provide a few examples.
Lead coffins are tossed about a sealed underground tomb on the island of Barbados.
An entire regiment of 250 men and 16 officers attacks a cloud-enshrouded hilltop and is never seen again.
Two ladies visit a royal court as it was more than a hundred years before their time.
All three of these links showed up in the last day on my G+ feed. I see similar items flow by at least a couple of times a week. Sometimes they are even modern news items.
Inspiration is all around us. Just keep an eye peeled and when a headline article catches your attention, try your hand a finishing the story.