My best friend leant me Arthur Christmas, and I'm not gonna lie: I was seriously skeptical. As a general principle, I hate computer-animated movies, and I sometimes find kids' films super cloying.
My husband and I sat down this weekend to watch it. He went in only expecting to stay for a few minutes before doing laundry. He ended up staying the whole time.
Why? Because it did the unexpected: it was hilarious and kind of dark. Instead of doing a sentimental take on Santa Claus, it blended the tradition of Saint Nick with military operations/strategy. Santa doesn't ride a sleigh, but he has an awesome space ship. The elves get the presents inside, not by sliding down chimneys, but by doing fancy military moves and using the latest technology. And instead of talking about angels getting their wings (not that I am on a vendetta against a certain Christmas movie or anything...), the characters talk about accidentally burning down elves' homes.
So what does this have to do with you and your writing? Everything. If you want to create something fresh, blend together different ideas to make something unexpected. No, you don't have to think about Christmas in terms of a military operation, but you can throw dark humor into your romance novel. Or combine cute kittens with a hardboiled mystery. Okay, these might not be the best examples, but you get the idea.
Writing prompt: Write a short story where you combine two completely opposite or unexpected things to create something new and different. Then share your story with me when you are done! I would love to read it.