Writing Prompt – Ship in a Bottle

You find a ship in a bottle . . . with people onboard.


  • First decide where you find the bottle. It could be in a ship captain’s quarters, in a museum, in an antique shop, or somewhere else. This will significantly affect the plot
  • Also decide on the type of ship. Much could depend on whether it is a ship of exploration, a pirate ship, a fishing ship, a cruise ship, a ship carrying colonists, or even a ghost ship.
  • How did the ship get in the bottle? How long have the people on the ship lived inside the bottle?
  • How do they have enough air to breath and enough food to eat? Maybe their world is larger than what you see in the bottle, and you only see the area immediately surrounding the ship.
  • Do they know they are in a bottle?
  • Are they aware of people watching them from outside the bottle?
  • Can you affect the world inside the bottle?
    1. Create a large wave by shaking or tilting the bottle
    2. Add a giant squid
    3. If you place another ship in a bottle next to this one, will they fight a battle?
    4. What happens if you break the bottle?
  • Do the people on that ship have a ship in a bottle with people onboard? If you are on a ship, is it in a bottle as well?

You are free to use this prompt in your own writing. If you print it or post it online, however, please credit this post.

About henrywm

I am a graduate from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology. I am interested in Christian theology and church history. I also enjoy science fiction and stories which wrestle with deep questions.
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