In my current wip, Showdown in Timberton, I have a gunfight between two prostitutes that result in the hero being shot. How did I come up with such a scene? Well. I love researching odd but true stories of the American West and found this little tidbit about the first woman killed in Abilene Texas. Luella Hines, aka Louisville Lou, and Jenny Lyons were both sparking the faro dealer from the Applejack Saloon, Quade Hill. Needless to say Hines and Lyons were prostitutes.
After numerous threats of bodily harm, Lyons killed Hines, which infuriated Quade Hill so badly that he beat Lyons and severed all ties with her. A few nights later Hines got drunk and busted into the Applejack saloon amid a spray of gunfire, gunning for Hill. The only casualites were two expensive mirrors and an ormolu lamp. Hill escaped unharmed from the attempt. But it got a city wide ordinance installed about women in saloons, they were no longer allowed entrance.
But it kicked my imagination into overdrive. What if the two prostitutes had a gunfight over the hero? What if they missed each other but accidentally shot the hero? Which one would care for the injured man? What if they decided to have the most respectable, and therefore unlikely to steal their man, woman in town nurse him back to health? Enter my heroine, the town's upstanding schoolteacher, who's shared a mutal attraction with the hero for a while unbeknowst to the prostitutes.
So how about you other writers out there, what sparked the germ that grew to an idea that grew to a story?