Watch The Hobbit...
No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101 | Find Your GM Style | Structure First, Story Last | No Myth Roleplaying | 5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101 | 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character | Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs
Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios | Actual Play Reports | Tools
I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested? | Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith
Sit down and brainstorm ideas with the players. Let them help me build a whole adventure out of nothing. I recently ran a game entirely based upon player ideas they sent me over Twitter, plus an hour's worth of collaboration over Skype. We created characters, built the word, the adventure location, and had two big action scenes in just 3.5 hours. I came up with very little and didn't need to. I just asked questions and said "Yes, and..." to their ideas.
If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.