I've been thinking a little more about Chris' comment on my previous post, and I thought that an example might help explain why I'm still excited about this.
Today, using the Anki flashcard system, the word for razor came up: 刮胡刀 (guā hú dāo).
Normally the odds of remember that word would have been low. Very low. I guess in future I would have looked out for a three character word which ends in 刀 (dāo=sword) and thought of 'razor'.
But immediately I noticed that the middle hanzi (胡) was one I'd already learned a couple of weeks ago (RTH #17) - which means "reckless".
The book had taught me that the first primitive looks like gravestone - and means 'ancient' (create your own image here), and that the second means 'moon' (ditto). In my mind, "ancient moon" makes me think of the ancient werewolf curse - thus "reckless" (I'm sure you can picture a werewolf going all wild & reckless, right?).
So now I have a three-hanzi word where the middle is 'reckless' and the last is 'blade'.
I haven't learned the first hanzi (刮) yet, but I looked a little closer ...
I can see it's made of primitives for 'tongue' (RTH #40 - which I already learned), and 'sword' (RTH #83). Since the dictionary tells me the overall word means 'scrape' - it's easy to remember a sword being used to scrape the tongue. Ouch!
So, although it looks like a complicated process, it took less than a minute to associate those three hanzi with 'razor' - and I doubt I'll forget them.
And if you know some of the 'primitives' I've used in this comment, there is probably a very good chance you're not going to forget either ...
... scraping the reckless growth with a sword ...
Razor. (Simple, yes?)
I hope that helps you understand my thoughts. (It certainly helped me solidify them by writing this out!) I can easily recall characters, and remember characters, and now even remember more multi-character words.
I'm looking forward to day 100!