What makes a good story different from a wimpy story? According to Michael Parent in The Storytellers Guide, the problem with a wimpy story is that it gives too easy a solution. That means when you look for interesting characters, they have to be able to live through circumstances that have tougher solutions than we find in everyday life - otherwise the account of their experience is normal and therefore wimpy. Everyday life lacks the spark that makes us sit up and notice, even though we might be rubbing shoulders with people who are very interesting if we took the time to listen to them.
I once met a blind girl, Aeriel Gilbert on a plane while flying to San Francisco. After a few hours of sitting next to her, I found out that she had been blinded by a vandal's act of replacing eye solution with drain cleaner. She went from being a normal nurse to the Outreach Manager for the Guide Dogs for the Blind organization on the West Coast. Not only that, she took up rowing, winning many medals to the point of carrying the Olympic Torch through the streets of San Francisco with her dog at her side. If I hadn't sat next to her, I would have just seen her as a blind lady on the plane, when in fact she was an extraordinary person already featured in the Incredible People Magazine.
Who have you met that is extraordinary?