Professional magician John W. LeBlanc notes that there are “untold numbers of anecdotes told by professional performers who found that just changing one, single word made an enormous difference in the response of the audience to a performance piece. One word. That’s magic.”
As in the fables of old, “It’s in the words that the magic is—‘Abracadabra,’ ‘Open Sesame,’ and the rest—but the magic words in one story aren’t magical in the next. It seems . . . that the real magic is to understand which words work, and when, and for what” (John Barth, The Tidewater Tales, 1987).