When I am trying to find the right word or I want to explore a concept, I employ word association by making a list. Here's an example the writer character in my book "Painting The Invisible Man" explored:
Family secrets. Family secrets are skeletons in the closet, are ‘ills that flesh are heir to.' I write this down. Secrets are hurtful. Secrets cause harm. Secrets wound. I add this to the page.
I need to heal that open wound once and for all. Maybe learning the truth is the salve I need. Salve. I write that down and continue the word association. A salve is an ointment. An ointment, a balm. A balm is an oil…an oil, an unction. An unction is an anointing. An anointing, a laying on of hands. A laying on of hands is a blessing. A blessing, a sanctification. To sanctify is to purify, to free from sin. Salve. Salvation.
"I’ll pray for your father, Anna, but he needs to repent first." Father Riccardi’s voice enters my thoughts. To be saved, one must first atone, I write. Atonement…redemption… deliverance… liberation.