In The Christmas Curse, my heroine has terrible memories of Christmas -- one of them is when she got a training bra in her Christmas stocking:
Yes... yes that really did happen to me. Though I only had one older brother at home.
And in Pregnancy Cravings, I used the memory of the time when I was pregnant myself and DYING for salt and vinegar chips (taking an entire lunch period to find them ... none of the stores by my job carried them as this was when they had first come out).
Both memories were actually the impetus for the idea for the entire story of each.
"Do you have salt and vinegar kettle cooked chips?" She directed the question to the flannel-clad back of the clerk at the register.
I like to hope, when bad things happen, some day I'll pull out that memory and use it for good ... in a story.
What are some memories you have that you think would make great story starters?
You can find Marianne Arkins at her website and blog.