Sit in the garden long enough and you will see bugs emerge that you didn't know were living there. Visit the same spot in a neighborhood and eventually a story will unfold. One morning, a walk showed me this. I liked the image just as it was. It was mysterious. So many potential subjects and purposes can be found in white painted canvases. And the variety of pots were spaced so evenly, too.
A day or two later, I saw change.
Then more. A painting of a cave. Scenery, perhaps?
A few days later, as I approached the driveway I heard many girls' voices. At least half a dozen were milling about joyfully
Then last weekend, a flyer taped to the sidewalk solved the mystery.
And a little memento in the driveway.
Writing a story takes curiosity, a question to start. The story unfolds slowly, and eventually the answer is revealed. Sometimes the answer isn't given, but the reader is still guided through an experience. Better yet if the reader is shown new views at each turning. The unfolding is movement. Something changes. In this case, the scene made me curious enough to keep coming back to look. The scene kept changing, and I kept learning. Here, I've just documented what I saw as a journal, "a daily record of observances." Add a little imagination, a little empathy, and fiction begins.
See also: "The Stakes of the Story"