The New York Times is terrific at tracking down previously unknown characters living in the city. I was particularly moved by this story about the last homeless man in Times Square.
There have been a number of compelling stories told about the homeless – The Fisher King, Joe Gould’s Secret and Hero to name a few – and this story about Heavy in Times Square is no different.
As an exercise:
Think of a situation where your character would be the last of something. Is he a captain going down with his ship like in Titanic or a firefighter trapped in a burning building like in Ladder 49? What are the circumstances that caused them to be in that situation? Did they choose to be the last, or were they trapped? What do they do to pass the time? Do they remain in that situation forever or escape/leave?