Sometimes the weather is against us and we are stuck for hours in airports. In the middle of the night with hundreds of people simply waiting to board a flight, you turn to people watching and learn as much as you can from your fellow irritated flyers. Write a few character vingettes based on the people you might see.
Or, if you really are stuck in an airport, take down some notes on the people you see. What are their mannerisms like? What are they wearing? Are they disgruntled, or patient?
Write about any decision, good or bad, taken under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
Write a story where 3 siblings work together to make a meal for their mother. They could be adults or they could be young children. What are they making, where are they, and why?
Do As I Say and Make Me a Sandwich!
Write a story in which someone finds a cookbook with some pretty disturbing recipes. (from awesomewritingprompts #401)
Character-Focused Writing Prompt
This is something I did as an exercise in my Language of Literary Arts in college. It was a foundational course for English majors.
Write a letter from a pet to their owner. Make sure to treat the pet like they are a real animal, not a human.
From NaNoWriMos via Billy:
Be a People Watcher!
If you want to be a good writer there are two important things you need: First you need a good imagination, and Second you need to be observant about the things going on around you.
Here’s what I want you to do for this exercise! Go out someplace, maybe a bar, a restaurant, or a coffee shop. Any place where you can sit down for a good amount of time.
Look for someone that looks out of place or interesting to you. (For example, the other night I was with some friends at a bar and there was a girl sitting at a table at 1am working on her laptop.)Now that you have your person, spend some time trying to figure out who they are… Chances are that you will be wrong, but that doesn’t matter! You aren’t chronicling their life, you are just being a writer. If you’re feeling brave, you can interview the person and ask what they are really doing, but I think the impact of the story is better if you just go off on a whim. Use your imagination!<
When you find a person that inspires a good idea for you, write your short story about it: Who are they? Why is this person there doing whatever they are doing?
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This also reminded me of a discussion we had last November about writing in public where we briefly touched on the importance of people watching and learning from real life things outside of your personal experiences. :)
Prompt idea by shrewdslytherin:
Write about someone walking down the street and finding an old friend who has become homeless. How did the person come to be homeless? What is the relationship between the two?