Here's a Mini-Exercise for today:
Grab a thesaurus (or do this on your computer). Either pick the first word that pops into your head, or open a thesaurus and choose the first word you focus on. Choose one of the synonyms and look that word up. Then choose one of the antonyms for that word and look it up. Choose a synonym and look it up. Then choose an antonym...Continue until you have about 10 words.
For example, it's windy outside; the trees are really whipping about, so I started with turbulent. Here's what I ended up with:
turbulent, unstable, enlightened, tolerant, harsh, bleak, promising, capable, inept, careless
If you decide to alternate from the start (choose a word, then its antonym, then a synonym, etc.), you could end up with something like this:
turbulent, orderly, compliant, resistant, resilient, weak, corruptible, strong, pungent, bland
If you're working on a story or poem already, how might these words be incorporated? Do any of these words illuminate a character or conflict or setting in your story in a new and better way?
If you're using this exercise as a story/poem generator - do any of these capture a person or place you've been wanting to write about, or has an image of a new character/world appeared?
This exercise is good to try on a regular basis as it will force you outside the bounds of your usual vocabulary. We all get stuck in our comfortable groove, using the same words over and over...Isn't it a marvelous moment when you rediscover the texture of a word, or discover a new one? You get to fall in love with language all over again.
Words I rediscovered: bleak, pungent, compliant. Not only do they sound great, but their nuances run deep.
Hey! Nuance! Nuance, shade, expose...