WORD HERO Contents

 (Click on the links for generous excerpts!)

Preface: The Legend of Quote Boy

When a friend asked what I was writing these days, I replied, "I'm going to teach you to come up with the words they'll quote in your obituary." She recoiled as if I'd offered to design her coffin.

Word Apprentice

You have the motive but not the knowledge. Take heart: In this section we explore the secrets of memorability--focusing your thoughts, tapping into inspiration, getting an audience's attention, and making your words stick.

1. Practice Witcraft
The Square Root of Rainbows: Formulas for memorability

2. Focus Your Thoughts
The Pith Method: Creating the core of wit

3. Capture the Secrets
The Mad Lib Protocol: A tool for accessing the brain’s three memory keepers

 Word Novice

Having learned the basics of making words stick and ferreting out the goodness in other people's expressions, you're ready for some of the specific tools. You'll start with sounds, play with words, and even invent some of your own.

4. Layer the Sound Effects
Things That Go Doink in the Night: Crashing symbols and rapid repeaters

5. Play with Words
Britannia Waives the Rules: Puns, near-puns, and puns with a restraining order

6. Invent New Words
The Waitron Blogarati: Portmantizing, Verbing, and group venereal activity

7. Repeat Yourself
The Green Eggs Concoction: Repetition that emphasizes, or changes, your meaning

 Word Artist

You know some of the best tools for creating a soundtrack in your audience's memory. Now for the second memory keeper in the SPA set: pictures. In this section you'll learn ways to catalog, describe, and transform the objects of your affection and disdain.

8. Draw a Picture
Mr. Potatohead, Man of Parts: Catalogs, Russian Dolls, and other ways to bring subjects alive

9. Transform Things
Homicidal Zombie Monetary Instruments: Tools that shrink and expand

10. Change Reality
Tropical Word Storms: Metaphor, simile, and the likeable analogy

 Word Wizard

Now that you know how to make indelible word sounds and pictures, it's time for the third leg of the SPA stool: associations. Here you'll learn the most powerful tools of all--tropes that do their work invisibly.

11. Practice Magic
The Belonging Trope: Rhetoric’s sneakiest trick

12. Pump Ironic
Adorable Pet Rocks: Irony, personification, and other role players

13. Pull Words Taut
The Jumbo Shrimp Paradox: Ways to build creative tension

Word Hero

Welcome to the pantheon, where you use your newly acquired tools to tell stories, get your way, and achieve immortality.

14. Tell a Story
The Lazarus Coke: Figuring a great yarn

15. Speak to a Group
Battle Yoga: Applying your figurative knowledge for public glory

16. Win an Argument
Consensual Socks: Comebacks, brands, and labels

17. Be the Hero
The Jimmy Kimmel Device: A well-figured life


What To Do Next

The Tools

Which Tools to Use When

Technical Terms