Every once in a while I need to make up a word. For example, I made up the word malflowed for The Salbine Sisters. Given what I was going for, that was an easy one.
Sometimes I’ll hijack the normal usage of a word. The word joined is a past participle, i.e. the past tense of a verb. In the Rymellan world, I use it as an adjective. I also capitalize it, because Joined has a significant meaning in Rymellan (another made up word!) culture.
Last night, I finally settled on what words to use for certain groups and people in the story I’m currently writing—and rather late in the process, I might add. I’ve almost finished the first draft, but before I went word hunting, I wanted to have a solid feel for what the words should represent. Up to this point, I’ve been using generic terms, which I’ll replace during my first round of editing.
Given the nature of the story, at first I thought I’d go with Latin words or combinations thereof, but after playing around with that for a while, I decided to hunt for good old English words.
When doing this, my two most important tools are a dictionary and what’s probably my favourite reference book when I’m writing: The Synonym Finder. This book is absolutely indispensable (and also the sort of book you must have in print). At 1300+ pages, it’s also huge. Drop this baby on your foot and you might have to pay a visit to emergency.
I’ll often start with a seed word and look up its synonyms. A few will jump out at me, and I’ll look up their synonyms, and so on, and so on, until I suddenly spot a word and think, “That’s it!” or “That’s part of it!” As I do this, I’m constantly checking meanings in the various online dictionaries.
When the dust had settled, I’d found all the words I needed. I hadn’t made up a single word, but I will be hijacking the normal usage of one word and capitalizing it.
Today’s word is: deiform.
deiform: godlike or divine in form or nature — Dictionary.com
I’ll use it as a noun.
As I was looking up various words in online dictionaries, I came across this, which gave me a chuckle:
Methinks the Christian dating service in question might want to take a look at the keywords it’s using to target its advertising.