I’m constantly mentally writing the beginnings of stories. Beginnings that I have no intention of ever expanding on, either because the ideas peter out, the concept doesn’t interest me enough to devote more time to it, or because the premise is just laughably bad. It doesn’t matter, really: It’s fun to write the first paragraph of a huge work and then completely abandon it, mocking its potential and daring the muses to take a swing at you (they won’t do it; pussies). An example: At Cracked, we were kicking around an idea for a series that was just overly explanatory theme songs to shows. We would film the opening credits, and maybe a second or two of the show itself as a button. But the meat of the content would just be the ridiculous opening sequences setting up this terrible show’s premise in detail. The one I was going to pitch was called “So I Married a Corvette…” about a man whose wife is somehow turned into a sports car. Science, magic, I didn’t get far enough to sort out the details – the important thing was this guy’s wife was a car and maybe they fought crime.
Another example while sleepily doing dishes this morning:
We all have the devil inside of us. He takes many forms. For some folks he’s a desire they can’t put down. Lust, or greed, or envy. For others, he’s an addiction. My daddy had two devils living in his guts: Alcohol and gambling. They cost him everything – his job, his family, his life. Me? I only got one devil to carry. His name is Larry. He’s about two inches tall and he lives in a hollowed out space in my chest. Got a little armchair in there. Doesn’t like visitors much, but he’ll see you as long as you knock first. You wanna meet him? All right:
“Hey Larry, you wanna talk to my new friends?”
…and that would be an instance of the ‘laughably bad’ category. But it’s a good exercise to bleed the poison out before you start actually writing. Give it shot if you’d like; write the opening paragraph or two of a story you have no intention of finishing and post it in the comments. It’s pretty liberating.