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.
We all have our favorite stories, so take your favorite fairy tale or just-so story or romance and change its genre. What would happen if your witch was actually a scientist or your hunky lead was a werewolf?
Evanovich’s problem is that her characters never learn from their mistakes. Go back to your writing and make sure that your characters actually move forward and develop in a realistic fashion–for the better OR the worse.
In the vein of Dresden, disguise something magical in the everyday. Brownies with a cleaning service? Unicorns at the zoo? Go as big as you can.
Give us a story about a Chekovian Gun. What, once it enters the story, must go off for the story to be complete?
In American Gods, Gaiman creates some new gods for our new culture. What new god would you introduce to our society?
Take a deity, and for funsies, pick a relatively unknown one. What is it doing today? What kind of job does he/she have?