Some days we have ideas buzzing around in our mind--too many to even remotely keep track of. Other days our brain feels like a dry sponge and we can't get anything out of it no matter how hard we try. Here's a little something that might help.
Anyway. So this is not really new, right? We all know a solid foundation of full and rich detail is what makes a good piece of writing. Our readers need to be pulled in to our world in order to really relate to and understand our larger, more abstract ideas. But we can take this principle and flip it on its head and use it as a fantastic brainstorming device.
Let's do an example. Let's pick some abstract concept or word. How about 'Beauty.' Pretty abstract right? Okay, let's get a little more specific. How about 'Angelic.' That's better. So what's angelic? How about we take it literally and talk about a statue of an angel. In a garden in a manor house in Spain. It's being transferred over from the workshop of the sculptor, a middle aged man whose wife just left him. His son is a sculptor too is in school in the States and is about to come home for Christmas break.
See what we did there? We took an abstract concept and flipped it into a story. What if we'd picked a different word for beauty. How about 'Graceful.' So then we've got a ballerina. She's from Kentucky but has worked for a lead ballerina role her whole life. Her mom was a prima ballerina and she has always felt like she's in that shadow. Now she's about to have the audition of her life, but one of the other girls auditioning is the daughter of the director.
Totally different story from the same word, 'Beauty.' It can work with any abstract idea: anger, happiness, sadness, shame. Try it out next time you're stuck. See what you can come up with.