Friday, June 29, 2012

Quotes and Cookies: Make up words

The other day, my brother sent me a press release to edit before it went live. I figured Press Release = Scrutinize Minutely, right? So I did. There was a word in it, "centristic," and I wasn't sure what it meant, so I wasn't sure if it was getting across the right message. Being the dutiful editor that I am, I looked it up.

Yeah. It wasn't in the dictionary.

So I sent my brother the file with my notes, and on that word, I left a note saying, "I don't know what this word means, and neither does dictionary.com"

His reply is my quote for the day.


"You don’t have to be the president to invent words,
and I think this is a good one."

~Allen Wheeler


Hahaha! Okay, I have to say that I love that quote way more than I should. Probably because I totally agree with it. I was reading ENNA BURNING by Shannon Hale when I first became a writer. She used a word-- thocked-- that was absolutely perfect in the sentence. It was also a word I'd never heard before, so I looked it up. (Okay, maybe it has absolutely nothing at all to do with being a dutiful editor and everything to do with being a geek.) And guess what I found? IT'S NOT A WORD. I was shocked. Really? Writers can do that?

Yes we can. And our books might be all the better for it. (As long as we don't abuse our power, of course.)

Have you ever made up a word? I know I've wanted to! (Raise your hand if you've needed the English language to have about 10 more words for smile. I mean we've got grin and smirk. That's IT.)

So make up a word! Have a Loaded Oatmeal cookie! And if you are feeling 20 kinds of awesome, make up a word for "smile!" (You know, like one for a sly smile. Or a sad smile. Or one of those smiles that don't really have any emotion behind it. Or one of those where all is right with the world. Or an evil smile.)

Photo credit and recipe link for Claudia's Cookbook

And then make sure to have an [insert made up word here] weekend!

16 comments:

Imogen said...

My family and I make up words all the time! The English language just doesn't have enough words yet. Let me know if you came up with any more wires for smile. And sigh. I haven't got enough alternate words for that either.

Delia said...

Smile is the WORST. When I get stuck, I always end up describing exactly which portion of the character's mouth turns upward. It's terrible. I'll be watching the comments for bright ideas. Also, those cookies look delicious.

Clarissa Draper said...

I always make up new words. The English language is always evolving. I might as well have a part in its evolution.

Iain said...

Your post just gave me a lovely squingle feeling in my lower thibble, and as a result, I had to splinge :o)

Martin Willoughby said...

Kids are the best people for making up words.

Writing SF I have to make up words for all sorts of things, be it names, places or alternatives for English words.

As for smile...I'll have to think about that.

Jaime Morrow said...

My sister and I are always making up words, or turning sounds effects into written words. But "smile"? Ugh. There needs to be WAY more words for that. I find myself trying to describe a smile without using the word or its variations, and that just ends up being so much worse. Ten words where one really good alternative to 'smile' would do. :)

Jenny Morris said...

Yummy cookies!!! And yes, I love making up words! And I really love a well made up one that gives a lot of umph to the character saying it. ;0)

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

social networking is the best for made p words. But there again some of them are simply badly spelt words that sound made up! I have been known to make words up too... Eeek!

Angela Brown said...

Making up words is the best! We get to thunk, kerplunk, thwap and slapapow all over the place. And don't you just love it when someone "curls the corners of their lips mimicking that looney Cat in the Hat" or "turn their lips downward with such piety"?

Tara Tyler said...

i love making up words and breaking grammatical rules!
i'm such a rebel =)

have a great weekend!

The Golden Eagle said...

I think I made up the word "splish" on my blog once--I was trying to describe rain and it seemed like an apt descriptor. :P

Leigh Covington said...

Oh man! Don't make me create any words tonight. I used all my brain power fixing sprinklers! lol.
Those cookies look delicious though! And I ABSOLUTELY love made up words! Especially when they work and even more so when the power isn't abused but used perfectly!

Emma Pass said...

I LOVE making up words. It's so much fun!

Leslie Pugh said...

Making up words is one of the best perks of being a writer I think.

Valerie Hartman said...

Love it - I am too much of a rule follower (uh, read geek) to make a word on purpose, but I have no doubt that I have botched a few in ignorance! Lovely post.

Steph Sessa said...

I love making up words! Being a linguist by day (for now), I am uber obsessed with words. Making up words also helps with world building in scifi and fantasy settings too. I think Scott Westerfeld and J.K. Rowling did a great job inventing words and slang for their worlds. (I've been known to blog about this a bit too in the past).