1. Read the titles of books you own or those at the library or a bookstore. Create a story based on one or more titles or words therein.
2. Watch an unfamiliar TV show or movie with the volume turned down and invent a story based on the setting and/or the characters.
3. Look up names in a baby book or on a baby-names website. (Yes, of course there are baby-name websites.) Create characters based on interesting names you find there, and build a story around them.
4. Research historical figures on Wikipedia or in some other reference resource. Write about a fictional episode in their life — perhaps a chance meeting with another famous person (before or after they became famous) — or assign some invented secret to their life and write about it.
5. Randomly look up words in a dictionary, or in any book or other publication. (Randomly select them by closing your eyes and lowering your fingertip to a page.) Create a situation or a plot around any combination of words you find (not necessarily all of them).
Prompts from DailyWritingTips