Verbal storytelling is different in some significant ways to writing a story. Try telling (not reading!) your current work in progress to a group of people and see how it changes!
The Green Lake Play Series came about because we all had a strong connection to a single place. What parts of your town or city or country do you feel draws people together, and what kind of stories can you tell about it?
Most writers have a ritual to our writing: listen to certain things, write with a certain pen, etc… Take your ritual and change it up, see how that reflects in your writing. Try changing the kind of music you listen to, or write someplace more/less comfortable. What happens to your writing? And “I can’t write that way” isn’t a valid excuse. This is to test your boundaries, so go for it.
In the spirit of the Hugo awards, if you had to nominate a story, any story ever, what would it be and why? Can you incorporate what you like about that story into your own?
In Starrise at Corrivale, Duane takes some common sci-fi tropes and subverts them. Pick your favorite trope and write it in a new and unexpected way.
In light of Jim Butcher’s massive outlining skills, sit down and take a look at the arc you want your characters to follow. Write it all out. Now, how do you get them there?
In the vein of Mark Twain’s The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg, Give your character an incorruptible virtue. Now figure out exactly what you need to do to make them break.
If you had the opportunity to bring anyone’s dreams come true, who would it be, and how would you do it? Remember, most genies are tricksters…
You know that spot in your favorite book where they character doesn’t do what YOU think they should do? Fix that. Go back and rewrite it to your satisfaction.
You get a chance to sit down with your favorite author and interview them. This is a dialog exercise, so, based on how they write, try and extrapolate how they would answer your questions.