Monday Inspiration: Semantic Intuition



Have you ever had the title of one of your stories pop into your head before you even knew what the story would be about?

This has happened to me a few times.  A perfectly random sentence pops into my head and I think “Whoah! that is the title of my next novel or poem”.  This does not always guarantee that I complete said story or poem but it does get the creative juices going.

Of course sometimes you unintentionally come up with an inspired title just by playing with a few select words.

Sting revealed to Larry King during an interview years ago, that he often writes a song after coming up with a title and Neil Simon came up with the name for his play The Odd Couple before he wrote the play.  Semantic intuition is a technique used not only by creative thinkers and artists like Sting but also by product innovators.

The oddly named, but extraordinarily powerful technique was invented by Helmut Schlicksupp, an employee of the Battelle Corporation’s office in Germany. Semantic intuition is a word-combination technique where brainstormers name an idea first, and then try to figure out what the new idea might be, given its name. As counterintuitive or even as impossible as this group idea-generating strategy might sound, there’s actually a precedent for it in the creative arts.”  – Read article here


What counter-intuitive technique have you used to kickstart your creative project?



11 thoughts on “Monday Inspiration: Semantic Intuition

  1. Coming up with titles is always the hardest thing for me. I always admire people who can come up with really good and/or clever ones. Having said that, if a title just pops out of nowhere, I definitely think it’s worth pursuing! 😉

    • I have to agree with you, it is hard to come up with a clever and catchy title 🙂 Far too many great stories are ignored because of their titles.

  2. I don’t have semantic intuition at all – but wish I did. The title of a book is always harder for me to think of than actually writing the book! I usually come up with the story idea first and the rest leads from there 😉

  3. As cliche as it sounds – my current project arose from a dream. I know, I know! But it’s true! In fact, many of my ideas come from dreams – but then, for some reason I seem to have incredibly vivid dreams!

    • Oh lucky you! 🙂 I have always envied Stephenie Meyer who says she ‘dreamed’ the ‘Twilight” novel. Do your dreams come with the title 😉 and character names? I think I may turn a deep shade of green if they do.

  4. I always struggle to come up with titles! Although, If I’m struggling to write, thinking of a title and writing a piece based on that can sometimes help.

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