March 26, 2017

Play twister

Four steps to twist of phrase

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
— Jack London, American author and adventurer

Some people are natural-born phrase twisters. The rest of us will likely need some help. Remember: Nobody ever said creative material had to spring from our heads fully formed — most of us have to work at it.

Play twister

Twist and turn You’re just four steps away from a great twist of phrase. Image by Judy van der Velden

Here’s a process for hunting down the muse:

1. Identify your topic word.

What’s the key word in your story?

For a story on Sprint’s new campus, for example, I started with words like “headquarters,” “offices” and “campus.”

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Related stories

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”
— Tom Stoppard, English playwright

Play With Your Words

Surprise and delight readers with wordplay

Neurologists call it “the pleasure of the text,” the reward readers get from figuring out figurative language. (It can be quite a reward: If your wordplay is funny enough, your readers’ brains even deliver a little dose of dopamine.)

The pleasure of the text

The pleasure of the text Readers are attracted to wordplay. Image by allie pasquier

That good feeling puts readers in an agreeable mood and may even open their minds to your message. In fact, one study found that ads using rhetorical techniques were 166% more likely to persuade readers and 229% more likely to be remembered than ads that did not.

The good news is that wordplay doesn’t take talent. It doesn’t take creativity. Instead, it takes techniques, tricks and time.

At Master the Art of the Storyteller — our two-day creative-writing master class on Feb. 23-24 in Los Angeles, and on Sept. 25-26 in New York — you’ll get the tips and tricks you need to surprise and delight your readers with wordplay.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Go beyond twist of phrase: Learn to flip phrases; compress details; sub soundalikes; list, rhyme and twist — even coin new words.
  • Find online tools that do most of the work for you: Walk away with links to some of the best (free!) wordplay resources — as well as ideas for how to use them.
  • Polish your skills in our wordplay workout: Get “recipes” for creating 14 types of wordplay, from anagram to etymology to oxymoron. (And yes, that portmanteau does make your butt look smaller.)
  • Get inspired by some of the world’s most creative headlines.
  • Stop writing groaners: Learn techniques that let you come up with surprising lines — and leave the clichés to the hacks.

This is the only writing workshop we have planned in Los Angeles in 2017. Don’t miss out on your chance to master creative-writing in LA! Register now.

“You transformed my writing in a mere 12 hours. I look forward to the next.”
— Brent Buchanan, communication, advocacy & political professional, National Experience

Polish your skills at these Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in Los Angeles: Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop in Los Angeles on Feb. 23-24, 2017
Register for Catch Your Reader: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Las Vegas on March 22-23, 2017
Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's Tight Writing workshop in Washington, D.C. on April 6-7, 2017
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Chicago on May 18-19, 2017
Register for Catch Your Reader: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Boston on June 19-20, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28, 2017
Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's tight-writing workshop in San Francisco on Aug, 17-18, 2017
Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in New York: Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop in New York on Sept. 25-26, 2017
Register for Catch Your Readers in Dallas: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Dallas on Oct. 16-17
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Boston: June 19-20
  • Chicago: May 18-19
  • Dallas: Oct. 16-17
  • Des Moines: Feb. 8
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17
  • Las Vegas: March 22-23
  • Los Angeles: Feb. 23-24
  • Miami: Dec. 11-12
  • New York: Sept. 25-26
  • Northbrook, Illinois: June 14
  • Plano, Texas: March 20
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • San Francisco: Aug. 17-18
  • Washington, D.C.: April 6-7

Keep up with my calendar.