When the movie, Aladdin, swept through the nation in 1992, everyone was greeted by the voice of a narrator. That narrator was a merchant, one that was quick to try to sell something, but also full of stories.
From that, we get to hear the entire story of Aladdin and the lamp.
There’s something romantic about touring the world and trading the whole way. You get to experience things on a much deeper level than you would otherwise. I know I’ve enjoyed peddling goods far and wide and I’ve learned a ton as I did so!
Today’s list of short prompts is meant to come from the various marketplaces of various lands and worlds. These prompts should work great for people that are writing in tons of different genres including fantasy, science fiction, romance, historical fiction, and several more.
I hope you all enjoy! As always, all prompts are free to use however you please.
- You live on a small cargo ship that your family bought used years ago. You travel up and down the Pacific Rim exchanging goods far and wide with your family. One day, you find something mysterious in a container that you are transporting for someone…
- Your lifelong goal has been to find long-lost art pieces from ancient civilizations. You chose to do so by travelling the globe as a merchant of sorts. As such, you live out of a small single-engine plane named Winston which has been on its last leg for easily five years. One day, you catch wind of the greatest missing art piece you’ve ever heard of–problem is, the person telling you the story is a drunk that stubled out on the runway where your plane is parked. Can you trust them?
- You live alone in a spaceship that travels between planets on the outer rim of the Milky Way. It’s loney work, but it pays the bills. One day, you land on a planet just ahead of an alien invasion. Do you have the resources and know-how to stay alive and save the day? Do you make a run for it?
- You’re an arms dealer on a desert planet where you never seem to have enough guns. Thanks to the hostile environmment, local animal life, and an impending war, more and mroe people are making requests for guns that you don’t have. There’s a rumor that there’s a crashed warship somewhere in the driest part of the desert, but you always thought it was just a rumor. However, current events are forcing you to reconsider things.
- You’ve been travelling the country for several years now buying and selling odds and ends from the coast and various places inland. All the while, you’ve been hearing story upon story. One story seems to always come up no matter where you are. What’s the story? Do you pursue it?
- You’re a paper salesperson. Not newspaper–literally just paper. Life isn’t supposed to be exciting for you, this is just a job you’re doing for the retirement. One day, you arrive at a prospective client’s home. After talking with them for a short while, you begin to think that they will be printing counterfiet money. What do you do?
- “Have boat, will travel.” You chuckle as you look at the sign that you put up on your little skiff. It isn’t much of a ship, but it’s yours. You’ve been using it ever since your military days, where you sailed up and down rivers fighting an enemy you never hated. Thanks to larger shipping companies moving in, you’re looking for new merchant work. A woman dressed in clothes far too nice for the area approaches your boat moments after you put your sign up…
- You’ve been running the family pawn shop in the Midwest for a few years now, ever since your dad got sick. One day, a team of FBI agents enter your store and start asking about a recent item that you took on. As it turns out, this item has a lot more of a story than the person you bought it from let on.
- You own a big old bus that you’ve been using to shuttle farming supplies up and down what used to be some of the most fertile farming area in the world. Alas, a drought has struck and it’s been going on for a few years now, so your business dried up with the crops. Despite that, you’ve continued, doing your best to keep your small business alive. When a man hands you a stack of cash and gives you some simple instructions on where to take him and his suitcase somewhere, you leap at the opportunity. Problem is, you didn’t realize just what you were signing up for.
- You’re part of a travelling caravan that transports spices, fabrics, and so many other things far and wide. You joined up because you saw that the caravan was doing well in market. After travelling over a month between markets, you’re begininning to wonder if joining them was worthwhile–then you find yourself face to face with–
- You’re a messenger for a few of the shopkeepers in the small town you grew up in. You usually end up working in and around the market district of your town. One day, a newcomer gives you an offer that could very well change your life.
- You’re a travelling watchmaker and you sell your watches and repair services to everyone and everything that you come across in your travels. One day, you enter an ancient city and the local residents tell you that your skills can be of use in an ancient temple. What do you do?
- You’re a merchant… of sorts. The key difference is that you don’t build or buy what you sell. You see, you’re a pirate of sorts. You see yourself as a Robin Hood figure, you steal from the government and redistribute the tax moneies and whatnot to the people. Alas, the government doesn’t see your work as a charitable activity. One day, the government’s people catch you as you’re selling some of your stolen goods at market.