There's an interesting website called Wordle that I like to play around with when I need inspiration, or just want to dink with words. Wordle lets me make word clouds--a very wonderful concept all by itself--from whatever is typed into the appropriate space, then I can pick the font, colors, layout to fit my words. I wrote a brief description of something I'm currently working on, and got this:
If I'm in need of clues, hints, stimulus--whatever it takes to motivate ideas or stories in my mind, I like to do this. It's not only entertaining, and makes me think outside the box, but suddenly word groupings jump out, or two small words floating next to each other show me a plot twist I might have overlooked, or not even considered.
One of the first things I saw in the cloud above was this grouping: secrets defy deceit. Do they? Or are secrets by definition deceitful? If something is truly a secret, how then can it be a deceit? Wouldn't you have to know the secret to make the call?
Or how about this one: historian returns dead. I see two ways to go with that. Has the historian returned as a dead person (vampire, ghoul)? Or is the historian returning something dead (stolen mummy, perhaps)?
Here's one I just did of this post. What jumps right out at me: dead know things. And, two pretty little clues. See? How much fun is this?
With just a few words--though, the more the better--there are myriad possibilities floating in the cloud to inspire, excite and encourage a boundless imagination. I think that's really cool.