Fold a piece of paper into 4 quadrants. Label the cardinal directions along the folds (North, East, South, West). Start at the upper left quadrant and label the four spaces in a clockwise direction: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Make a list of words that you associate with each element under the appropriate heading. Don't think, just write quickly:
tan,brown, canyon, drumbeats, stability, rocks, prairie, exploring
blue, flute sounds, floaty, ocean, waterfall, river, creek, canoe
red, tummy rumbling, hungry, lava, burning, hot ash. Pompeii, invasion
birds calling, invigorating, flags waving, eagle, cool breeze, white
Now, combine two directions and write a possible plot incorporating those ideas.
North meets East (Earth meets Water)
A couple goes to a spa in the mountains, the first time in years they have time to themselves.
North meets South (Earth meets Fire)
A seismologist has spent his life studying a dead volcano...that turns out to be not as dead after all.
South meets West (Fire meets Air)
A funeral service celebrates the life of a warrior, as the smoke reaches the sky.
West meets North (Air meets Earth)
A mountain cave is the home of a race of winged creatures.
Extra challenge: Put them all together in one plot.
The seismologist and the couple are reincarnations of people who lived long ago. Their culture was wiped out by the now-not-so-dead volcano. The seismologist was an explorer in that life and re-discovers the cave housing dormant eggs of the winged creatures. The couple were soulmates--one of them was a warrior, the other a mystic, and they recall their life during that time, from when they met to their funeral pyre.