Find two bowls.
Write the names of your favorite people - fictional or otherwise - onto scraps of paper and dump them into the first bowl.
Write random questions like "what was your last holiday like?" or "what is your political position?" onto other scraps of paper and dump them into the other bowl.
Close your eyes and draw one slip of paper from each bowl. This is your writing prompt. Set yourself a timer and go write!
Want a demonstration of how fun this can be? Check out the prompts my friend Randi Jo and I did back at our writing retreat last December. They were all written in about five minutes and have not been edited.
Scarlet O'Hara - Would you rather have love or power?
"Well love of course! I've never wanted anything more than a happily ever after with my darling Ashley. I'd do anything in the world to make that happen. It's awful aggravating that Ashley just doesn't see this. He's head over heels in love with Melanie - or thinks he is. Now if he'd just listen to me properly he'd realize that Mellie could never make him truly happy the way I could. Because deep down, Ashley really loves me, I know this.
"Oh why are people so pig-headed stubborn? Like that Rhett Butler. He just doesn't know when to leave me alone! Keeps causing scandals and thinks he can run my life better than I can. As if! Some days I think I can run everybody's lives better than they can."
Kaylee (Firefly) - What is your dream vacation?
"I'd kinda like to wake up one morn' and find that my best fellow Simon had surprised me - had gone and whisked me off in my sleep - and when I opened my eyes I'd see sunshine fallin' on our pillow - and we'd be in a real bed with sheets and there'd be a basket of complimentary fruit from the guesthouse people. And I'd walk out the bedroom door into a garden... and I'd sit right down on a bench and eat and eat. Simon would pick me a nice-smellin' flower and we'd sit together just brownin' in the sun and leaves from the trees would fall into my lap, and I'd fall asleep again, just covered in perfume and light... and Simon of course."
River Song (Doctor Who) - What was the hardest thing you ever had to do?
"There's not even a question about it. My wedding. I knew - knew where it was going. What he was going to ask me to do. Did he really thing I would seal his doom with a kiss?
"Of course not. Back then I was young and impetuous and he always knew better than me. I didn't believe it of course. If I had, it wouldn't have been so heartbreakingly difficult..."
"Now he's younger and I'm older and I sometimes wonder if something harder is coming."
Robin Hood - What are three authors you find inspirational?
"Books are hard to come by when you're an outlaw. You'd think I could just steal some from the rich caravans I 'frequent.' But strangely, pompous old scoundrels swimming in farthings they squeezed from the poor rarely seem to own books either. However when I was a young fool and inclined towards romance, I spent my days wandering the fields and reading Le' Morte de Arthur. Silly fantasy or inspiring heroics, I don't know which. Marian is reading over my shoulder right now - and she says romance is the most important thing in the world and if I don't think so too, I'm going to lose her company (at night) for an indefinite spell.
"Sooooo. Yess. Knights and ladies. Chivalry. Romance. The most important thing in the world. I was wrong to doubt."