Find a classified advertisement online (at Craigslist or in the newspaper), one that you find interesting. Then, create a character based on the person who wrote this classified advertisement. Tell me what their first date might be like in under 1,500 words. The story may be told through any perspective, but it must contain some sort of change. The character must somehow be altered by the end of this date.
Pretty specific, eh? And, yet it's open enough that the writer can take the assignment in a dozen different directions. The story could be told from the perspective of the date, for instance, from the waitresses's point of view, or from that of a fly sitting on a coffee cup, listening in. But what's more important is that this assignment also sets a stage, which makes it easier to write those first words.
After making this assignment, I decided to try it out, and guess what? I've written four stories in the past few months (very prolific for me) just because I've been so inspired.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, after years of totally disregarding story prompts, I've found a new fondness of them through teaching. In fact, I do all of the work that I assign so that I can experience the class as a student and also keep up with my craft.
If you happen to try out this assignment, let me know how it went. It really is a fun one.
(Here's some funny classified/ads: http://www.oddee.com/item_96448.aspx )