From diddleman to nominatrix

Open readers’ minds by creating your own words

The first people to “neologize publicly on purpose” were English writers Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. Among other neologisms, Carroll, author of Through the Looking Glass, brought us “chortle,” a combination of “snort” and “chuckle.”

From diddleman to nominatrix

Play with your words Surprise and delight your readers by breathing new life into an old word. Image by Flood G

Or so says Barbara Wallraff, who should know. Wallraff is the author of “Word Fugitives,” a column that coins new words at readers’ request, which appears in The Atlantic Monthly. She also wrote the books Word Court and Your Own Words.

In her new book, Word Fugitives, she shares these four approaches for recreational word coining:

1. Add or subtract a syllable or a letter.

Smirch was a verb, Wallraff reports, before William Shakespeare added the prefix be- to it. And impediment was in use for at least 200 years before Shakespeare came up with impede.

How can you add or subtract a syllable to create a new word?

Read full article >

“If a word works, use it.
Even if it’s not a word.”
— Paula LaRocque, author of Heads You Win

Give readers ‘the pleasure of the text’

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.)

Get a wordplay workout

Get a wordplay workout Learn to twist and turn and otherwise play with words at our only creative writing workshop of 2016. Image by Jef Safi

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 — a two-day creative writing Master Class on Feb. 23-24 in Phoenix — you’ll learn tricks and techniques you can use to flip phrases; compress details; sub soundalikes; list, rhyme and twist — even coin new words.

You’ll get inspired by some of the world’s most creative headlines, master your skills in our wordplay workout and leave with a list of free online resources that do most of the work for you.

Don’t miss out on our only creative writing workshop in 2016. Save $100 when you register by 5 p.m. on Jan. 23. Register now.

“I can’t think of a workshop that paid as many dividends in aha moments and tools I can use and share in my job.”
— Larry Nuffer, manager, Corporate Communications, CDC Small Business Finance

Polish your skills at our 2016 Master Classes

Learn to Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for persuasive writing workshop in Atlanta on April 20-21
Register for tight writing workshop in Chicago on May 11-12

Register for PR writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28
Register for Online writing workshop in New York on Sept. 28-29
Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?
Contact Ann directly.

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:

  • Atlanta: April 20-21
  • Bloomington, Indiana: April 5
  • Chicago: May 11-12
  • Englewood, Colorado: March 16-17
  • Houston: Nov. 2-3
  • New York: Sept. 28-29
  • Phoenix: Feb. 23-24
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: May 3-4
  • San Diego: June 28-29
  • Vacaville, California: March 1-2

Keep up with my calendar.