You're shopping at the local grocery store. When it's your turn at the queue, you realize the cashier is trying to hold back tears. What do you do?
Of course, you can write about any other character instead of yourself.
For the sake of convenience, I've referred below to the cashier as a man, but of course it could also be a woman.
A young child comes out of the hospital, not only illness-free but with a new ability as well. What's her story?
Imagine wind chimes left tinkling on the porch of an empty house. Write the story surrounding them.
Write a story about a picture which exercises a strong influence over its subject.
Oscar Wilde’s novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ and Isaac Asimov’s short story ‘The Smile that Loses’ play with this idea in different ways.
Think of a modern character dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Write about the character.
You (or your character) are traveling far from home when you lose your way. There are people around, but they don't know you, you don't look like them, and you don't speak their language very well (or perhaps you don't speak it at all). What do you do?
She carries a bag of dreams for sale. There are people eager to buy--some, too, who'd like to sell her the dreams they have already.
A 12-year-old boy is spending the evening home alone for the first time. Someone keeps knocking at the front door, but every time he looks outside there is no one there.
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