Made up words are a delight most of the time, some we use oblivious of their origins as they have been in common usage for centuries. However, others recently added to the dictionary have us shaking our heads. In the links below we have Banana Republic, Beatnik, Bedazzled, Catch-22, Debunk and more.
Which words are your favorite from the lists above?
Have you ever made up a word for a novel?
I make up names most often, for example my novella is called The Rython Kingdom. The word Rython is a completely new word. I wanted a word that would intrigue and reflect the mythology/fantasy element of the narrative.
Chick lit – Books, usually featuring female characters, written by women on contemporary themes and issues that appeal more to women than to men.
Chillaxing – Blend of chilling and relaxing. Taking a break from stressful activities to rest or relax.
Blook – A blend of book and blog: a book written by a blogger
Today’s prompt – why not share one of your made up words and why you created it OR make one up and its definition.
It occured to me in this day and age of the internet being seen as the font of all knowledge, are dictionaries becoming redundant? Today no matter what type of word document you open, it has links to spelling, grammar and a theausaurs as well as dictionary features. An easy click will supply you with all the information you want – doesn’t it?
Do you use a dictionary?
What are your views on paper verus virtual?
Quotes:Lexicography can be done on the kitchen table.” Eric Stanley.
Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. Nathaniel Hawthorne
For today’s fun prompt we will use a real dictionary. Grab a copy and let it fall open. Then with eyes closed point to a word on either page. Use that word to begin your response for a short story or poem. Here is mine: Immunity
My morning was certainly not humdrum. I had to take my daughter for surgery so we were out of the house by 5.15 am – good grief! Everything went really well and now she is home and comfy with a doting mother. I will file away the experience it may help with a story sometime.
When an idea for a story strikes we struggle to keep up with the twists and turns our mind creates. We write or type furiously so we can capture it all. This first draft is primarily getting the words onto the page and character development, word usage, grammar, even spelling often go by the wayside. It is when we start revising that we notice particular words repeating, mediocre descriptions and continuity errors. It might be a humdrum start but the foundation of the story has been built. Now we can begin to embellish and elaborate, delete repetitive words, hone our characters personalities and create tension. Enticing our reader onto the next page is key for any novel.
To ensure our writing isn’t humdrum there are ways to strengthen our work. Here are a few tips, but by no means an exhaustive list.
1. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly. 2. Avoid repeating a word in the same sentence and especially if the word has a ‘double’ meaning. 3. Try to omit words such as ‘go’, ‘went’, ‘that’, ‘very’ – most sentences do not require them! 4. Avoid clichés.
The best way to ensure your writing is clear, concise and enthralling is to expand your vocabulary. Word games, actively learning new words, and using a dictionary and thesaurus are all effective ways to accomplish this.
We all have words that we over use, mostly unconsciously but once we begin revisions they are revealed – well hopefully. I have found some internet sites that you can paste a section of your work into and it will highlight them. This is a useful exercise for any writer.
Let me start with the thesaurus explanation of descriptive : evocative, expressive, vivid, graphic, eloquent, colorful, explanatory, illustrative. Quiet a list, which I’m sure we could expand on if we so chose. However, my point is a single word can encapsulate a mood, a feeling or a condition. Today’s desk diary offering is such a word – Clammy – definition : being damp, sticky and unusually cool.
Check out the Thesaurus’ sibling, Dictionary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The word clammy conjures up an exact feeling, one we have all had at one time or another whether due to illness or a particular uncomfortable situation. Such as our first public appearance, nervously opening a response to a manuscript submission or the tell-tale light headedness prior to fainting.
This delightful word is an example of how you can capture your character’s feelings precisely. In the revision process of any piece of work, tightening up the exposition ensures the story keeps pace and large sections can be refined into their essential elements. In using words, such as clammy, our readers are instantly aware of our character’s situation without losing the impact of the narrative. In other words -using these descriptive words keep our narrative sharp.
Careful word usage is a learned skill for many and delving into our dictionary and thesaurus on a regular basis enables us to use words to their best affect. For example if we did not use clammy, we would need to describe cold but sweaty skin, light headedness, damp beads of perspiration – a lot more words for the same condition and an overly descriptive sentence or paragraph can lose our reader’s attention. We certainly don’t want that.
Use of the thesaurus on our word document screen can assist but does have it’s limits. A good dictionary & thesaurus are a good investment for any writer. There are specific thesaurus as well. For example I have an emotional thesaurus which is a great tool.
Take your time while revising any written piece to identify descriptive words that would sharpen it. They are a writer’s best friend, so use them often.