Picasso sketched constantly, and so did Dali, and DaVinci, and if that's not true it should be. You have to keep the knife sharp, and whittling is as necessary toward that end as is chopping the mighty oak. I've found it helpful before sitting down to crank out thousands of words to make a little story of just a few words, hopefully self-contained and suggestive of a deeper world beyond.
A good warm up should leave you wanting more, which is obviously the same point with a novel, except that a warm up only takes a few minutes.
Harlan Ellison once made a creature glossary and I think Edward Gorey has done the same. The idea is a creature for each letter of the alphabet. So, I'm stealing the idea. They can have it back when I'm done with it, though I may leave the gas tank empty, and Gorey is dead.
Anyway, here's a warm-up. There are obviously 25 more of these, so if you like them, yay! more coming! If you don't, you might want to take this opportunity do a headstand in a bucket of piranha.
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A is for Auntie Diluvian. Nobody in Elm’s Oak is older. She lives in the Gingerbread Hotel, and can be reached at the last minute. Ring the bell at the lobby, and the rubber-legged concierge will show you up. She holds the secrets you haven’t told yourself yet. Stay away from her unless you want to know the truth at a price higher than you are willing to pay. Auntie bakes strange spherical goodies coated in red chocolate that smell like yesterday and taste like youth. Eat one, and your best question will be answered. Eat two, and your fondest dream will come alive.
Don’t eat three.