For a couple weeks now, I've been doing a quick daily exercise where I write a "hooky" first sentence - not connected to a specific project. This has turned out to be a lot of fun, and some of the openings seem to have a lot of promise.
I always try to start my stories with an implicit question of some kind and an element of character, setting, plot or some combination of the three. However, when I'm working on a new story, I typically know what these elements are going to be in advance. Some bits and pieces may change or simply be unknown, but I have the larger shape.
Where this has been different is I'm creating those same three elements in strokes of possibility. The world-story-character that results from these lines could be almost anything that meets the promise of the sentence. It's freeing, and it leads me towards ideas I might not have considered.
As an aside, I noticed that the last several were consistently getting longer, so I set myself a challenge to make today's very short. I ended up with:
I hated mourning garb: blue was not my color.