Here’s an exercise that’s quite fun. Write down a word beginning with each letter of the alphabet. If you’ve got 26 friends, get them to write a word each. Then, write a short story using every single one. It’s difficult, but that’s half the challenge. If you want a theme, love and war usually work for any set of words. Here’s mine:
I remember when I met that MOROSE VIXEN, one NIGHT in YEMEN. The sky was filled with WONDER as I looked out from the SLIMY UNDERGROWTH, drunk on JUICY KETAMINE. She was like some kind of QUEST to which I had to REDIRECT my attentions, away from my obsession with PAPRIKA TEA. The way she looked at me, stared into my soul like a BIONIC woman, ready to throw a GRENADE into the ORIFICE of my heart, DESTROY my self-control, cause a HOLOCAUST of the senses. Why would someone like her ever go for a LOSER like me? She CONTINUES to watch me with X-RAY eyes, turning me into some kind of ZEALOT for her. She fills an ENVELOPE with every letter of the ALPHABET, hides it in my pocket. She’s like an ILLNESS, killing me slowly with a love like bad FICTION, finding new ways to torture me.