Here’s a hot writing tip that will help your words sizzle!



It’s a simple technique borrowed from The Bard – to make the audience ‘feel’ by adding heat (or cold) to your words.

Shakespeare is credited with inventing (or popularising) hundreds of words and expressions we use today.

including: hot-blooded and cold-blooded.(KING JOHN, ACT III, SCENE 1 –  Thou cold-blooded slave…)

He would often take existing words and combine them to create new expressions.

Now I understand a journalist’s job is not to invent new words (that’s for copywriters!) – but you can still use this ‘temperature tip’ to  replace bland words with warm-blooded or  cold-blooded ones make your writing more engaging and to help your audience ‘feel’ your words.

How often do we use cold-blooded to describe a crime – especially a murder or killing?

This week I subbed a story about a hot-headed violent generation.

TB headline technique


Other newsy examples include:

…feeling the heat

the battle heats up

getting the cold shoulder

in hot water

an icy reception

a warm welcome

a luke-warm response

To get technical – people experience the world through their senses and words (heard or read) can trigger ‘sense memories’ and make your audience ‘feel’ your words.



Hi, I’m a ‘word nerd’ and I’m lucky to make a living from doing what I love – writing, sub-editing, and teaching others how to write, Yes, I’m a ‘Shakespeare and Hemingway and Kerouac nerd’ – but hey, this nerdiness and knowledge comes in handy – even in the busy world of breaking news!











One thought on “Warm up your words!

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