Word Association

A method more likely to succeed is word association. You randomly choose a word. Then you sit down and try to think of as many words as possible that are associated with the word. They could be synonyms or antonyms. They could be similar things or related concepts. They could be adjectives or adverbs describing the word. Then afterwards, you sprinkle those words in a paragraph about something else, so reading the paragraph calls to mind the original word, which itself never appears in the final paragraph. You end up with a metaphor or subtle analogy. This is helpful in business or advertising. Here you can read about using this method to make websites.

Creativity Game for a Group
Here’s a neat game that involves a bunch people. It works perfectly in the classroom, and would work equally well for preschool, graduate school, and everything in between. It would work for a business conference. You start with an overhead projector. Then you ask members of the class or audience to bring to the front stuff they have with them, just small odds and ends they happen to have with them at the time such as pencil, car keys, etc. Girls tend to carry more junk with them. Then you randomly toss the small objects on the overhead projector. This creates abstract shapes on the screen. It’s odd to see the three dimensional object transformed into a two dimensional shape which can change dramatically based on how it’s lying on the overhead. Transparent or translucent objects look particularly interesting. Also, if you have a shiny object, like a pair of scissors, light will bounce back and forth between the object and the mirror on the overhead, which creates an interesting image. Then the people in the room try to say what the object looks like. Simply saying what it really is, doesn’t count. You have to say something else that’s suggested by the shape. We did this game in a poetry class.

The teacher put a pair of sunglasses on the overhead. A girl said it looked like a bra. Another girl said it looked like Fred Astaire because she thought the arms of the glasses looked like Fred Astaire’s legs. So you see how some people think up things that are only subtly suggested by the shape.

There are different ways you can proceed at this point. You can have the members of the class shout out what they see, and the teacher writes it on the board.

You could have the people write them down on a piece of paper, and then share them afterwards. You could then have them try to write poetry, a short story, or draw a picture based on the words that were suggested.

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