I have to credit my daughter's 2nd grade teacher Bonnie Brockberg (many moons ago) with the phrase "juicy words." She was teaching the class about adjectives and that's how she described them.
I've stolen the phrase and used it ever since.
Juicy words. Succulent words. Words that add both a flavor and a sound (or smell, or vivid visual) to your copy. You know what I'm talking about. Ad copy or a letter that you have to read out loud to someone. It's almost musical.
That kind of copy writing is mesmerizing. It captures our imagination. It's memorable. It generates buzz. It should be the kind of writing you work your tail off to create.
There was quite a lively discussion in the comments of my recent post about words to avoid in 2009. One of points made was that most people are lazy writers. They use the same common words that everyone else uses and they wonder why no one listens.
I want you to promise to seek out juicy words. Weave them into your communications. Don't be heavy-handed about it. It's a delicate art. A hint of juicy is plenty. How do you start?
Read masters of the juicy words: The J. Peterman catalog and blog are lyrical, entertaining and incredibly juicy.
Find tools that will help you get juicy: The Visual Thesaurus is my trusty writing sidekick. When I'm searching my brain for just the right word, it offers me many to choose from.
Get some juice on you: Jump in and squeeze! It's going to be sticky but there's no other way. You have to just practice. Give it a shot in the comments box if you want. We'll support your efforts!
Want to earn your audience's attention? Want to get them reading your words aloud? Then, take the pledge. Come on, raise your right hand and repeat after me:
"I promise to be a practicing juicy word wizard. I'll avoid words that are dull, mundane or ordinary in any way and replace them with language that stimulates the senses and the sales."
Juicy words. Thank you for such a delightful image. At the minimum, I now have a way to describe writing I enjoy. With practice and implementation… Who knows how sticky I might become.
Let you know have included some of your posts in my compilation of “Top Blog Posts on Job / Career Advice” (with slant on advertising, marketing, media & PR). In particular, I liked: “Helping college grads get a job – FREE e-book”
Eamon – Spotlight Ideas
Great advice. I find “juicy words” come much more naturally when writing in active voice. Using passive voice is a trap many business and marketing writers fall into.
Reading quality fiction is also important. The best novelists are the true masters of the juicy word.
Here’s to finding words in 2009 we can really sink our teeth into!
Thanks for this great post. For a non-native English speaker like me, finding juicy words is especially difficult. I know that from my own experience.
I also like the expression “juicy words”. In a way, that’s a juicy word itself.
It’s a vivid expression, isn’t it. It almost makes my mouth water a bit when I say it. Good luck with the practice!
How cool — thank you. I love promoting the college grad piece. So many people contributed to it!
Do you have a favorite fiction writer, in terms of juicy words?
I think you would find the visual thesaurus a very valuable tool.
I’ve always had a fondness for succulent. But it’s a rare piece of ad copy that really welcomes it!