Think of a nine-letter word.
One that you can keep removing one letter from (8, 7, 6,… all the way down to 1), and form a new word, each time.

STARTLING, isn’t it?
STARTING to make sense, though.
TASTING pretty good, too.
GIANTS of word play, that’s what we are.
STAIN of over-confidence, maybe.
NITS in your hair? No.
TIN helmet took care of that.
IN good form.
I am. Are you?