Damon Knight, in Creating Short Fiction, says that a single idea does not make a short story. Two ideas do. That might sound simple enough to be practically useless, but it resonated for me. A second idea can shake loose a single idea, provide perspective, allow for a different sort of exploration and interplay. Maybe that’s why prompts involving unrelated words are so popular.
I wonder if the process is similar to Einstein’s idea of combinatorial play, which (besides its mathematical meanings) seems to imply putting two disparate things together and looking for new meanings. When I Google the term, lots of “think-better” sites come up, as well as the book, Understanding Italo Calvino. Are any of the other princesses familiar with this concept? Able to shed more light on it?