Yard Sales Offer Prompts for Stories

yard saleAfter days of preparing for our community yard sale, the big day begins at 7 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m. with several story prompts along the way. For instance, the boy, about 9 or 10 years old, who holds his sister’s hand to come to our tables while his parents talk to our neighbors. The girl, about 5 years old wants a fairy puzzle in a purple box. The boy asks me how much and I tell him 25 cents. He puts the puzzle back and tells me he will go to his father who is shopping next door for the quarter. He takes his sister’s hand again and off they go. I would have told him she could have it for free, but as a teacher, I think it’s important for children to learn about buying and selling.

He comes back and gives me the 25 cents,  picks up the puzzle and hides it behind his back while his sister is distracted by a stuffed bear on another table. He says, “Let’s go.” She runs to where the puzzle was and says, “It’s not here.” She looks like she might cry. Like magic, he produces the puzzle box from behind his back and gives it to her. She clutches it. They walk  away, he pats her lovingly on the shoulder, takes her free hand and they return to their parents.

How about the quiet woman who comes every year and shops at  my free box. All eight years that I’ve done this yard sale, I always have a large free box and keep filling it during the day. This woman has come the last three years, squats to look over every item. If there are clothes, she stands up and holds the shirt or skirt up judging the size. I bring her an empty bag, she smiles, and nods her head. Some people load up their hands with as much as they can hold, but not this woman. She studies each item considering it as if she were paying top dollar for it. I’m happy I can provide a shopping day for her. When she’s done, she always walks a little closer to my tables and thanks me before she turns to leave with a bag full of items carefully chosen.

My Mom had five decorator pillows with handmade lacy covers for sale at 50 cents each. A foreign speaking family, mother, father, and young girl,  browse our tables while the daughter, about 14 years old, looks at the pillows. She asks her father if she can buy one, he says no. I tell the mother that if it’s all right with her, the girl could choose one for free. The mother smiles and asks, Free?” I nod and tell the girl to pick out her favorite. They both check each pillow, turning them over, feeling the lace, and then the girl picks one, glancing at me to be sure it is okay. I nod. Father says nothing but doesn’t look angry.

There are the characters. The plot could involve what their home live is like, what do they desire, what blocks the achievement, and what stresses do they have. Add a tension arc and a resolution, write, revise, revise, revise, and three stories are ready to submit. Good luck.

1 Comment

Filed under story prompts

One response to “Yard Sales Offer Prompts for Stories

  1. ladywinfred

    I’m intrigued by the “quiet woman” who for eight years has been a seasoned shopping at your free box. I feel a story bubbling. Thanks, Jules.



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