I've mentioned before that my mind doesn't always travel in a straight line. Just the other day a story title popped into my head - "Just South of True North" - and a couple of paragraphs followed that I wrote down to let percolate for a while.
That title made me think about other titles with compass directions in them, like the movie "West by Northwest", then my mind went sideways and I thought "East of the Lemon Bars". Great title for a children's story, or perhaps there's a women walking along a buffet table and someone approaches her when she's just east of a scrumptious looking plate of lemon bars. Not a title but it could make a pretty decent opening line with a little bit of work. Then I wondered what if someone was traveling just east of the Lemon Bar. What kind of person runs the Lemon Bar? What kind of place is it? Maybe a strip joint with a dead girl in the parking lot? Or maybe a bakery that just had a body delivered with the flour order?
By just adding a few compass points to a sentence or a title can give you a whole new perspective on a story, or open up a new cupboard full of story ideas. You know, like south of the river, north of the I-80, even east of the hog wallow could work. Just open your mind to the possibilities and start tapping away at your keyboard or jotting down notes.