Category Archives: Uncategorized

What Is Big Enough for a Dolomphious Duck to Catch a Frog In?

Christy_NaMee_Eriksen_-_All_These_Words_are_Made_Up_01a_1024x1024Answer: a runcible spoon! Just one of many made-up words and phrases coined by Edward Lear. “Higher-cynths” and “Lower-cynths” are two others.

Made-up words (nouns, verbs, modifiers) used sparingly can add speculation, surprise, poetry and humor to your writing. They work best in children’s books. Just be sure to use them in ways that provide readers with a sense of what they mean.

You can make up nonsense words:

“And oh, what a terrible country it is! Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the entire world — hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles. A whangdoodle would eat ten Oompa-Loompas for breakfast and come galloping back for a second helping.” (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—Roald Dahl)

Combine existing words:

Lewis Carroll created what he called “portmanteau words” (The blending of preexisting words. The word “brunch” and “tween” are examples). Carroll explained:

“For instance, take the two words “fuming” and “furious”. Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first. Now open your mouth and speak. If your thoughts incline ever so little towards “fuming”, you will say “fuming-furious”; if they turn, by even a hair’s breadth, towards “furious”, you will say “furious-fuming”; but if you have that rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say “frumious.”

Turn nouns into verbs, verbs into nouns, adverbs or adjectives:

verbing_weirds_language(Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson, 1993)

Examples: Google it; “Let’s do lunch”; Supposably 

04aa8e3c0489b8a3a65bab0968e4bbd5

You can add humor to character dialogue by using malaprops:

Malapropism was one of Stan Laurel’s comic mannerisms. In “Sons Of The Desert”, for example, he says that Oliver Hardy is suffering a nervous “shakedown” (rather than “breakdown”), and calls the exalted ruler of their group the “exhausted ruler”; in “The Music Box”, he inadvertently asked a policeman, “Don’t you think you’re bounding over your steps?” meaning “stepping over your bounds”

Remember: Always have a motive for using made-up words and phrases. Use them cautiously and in moderation to add flavor to your writing and evoke a specific feeling from your readers.

__________________________________________

If you are on Facebook, Check out my page where I post articles
and inspiration for writers.

fbheader617 copy
_____________________________

*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Creativity, descriptive writing, fun with words, neologisms, Uncategorized, unusual words, words

The Power of a Conversational Writing Style

conversation-1100x400

I was at my beautician friend’s house getting a haircut when her husband, Randy, came home. He’s not a writer or interested in becoming one. But, whenever Randy is around, I know he’ll ask about my work. We’ve gotten past, “What do you write?” He understands that I write books. He’s asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”and I’ve told him I pray before I write and ask for God’s guidance. Somehow the ideas just come. But on this particular haircut day Randy wanted to know,

“Who do you write for?”

(I wanted to correct his grammar, but I didn’t.) I rambled on about editors, writing assignments and deadlines. I talked about publishers and digressed into explaining what it means to freelance. —

“I meant WHO do you write for?” he interrupted me. “Kids? Adults?”

“Both,” I said. Then I added,

“I write for every person reading my book. I want my words to make each reader feel like I’ve written the book just for him or her.”

I could have gone on and made the poor guy sit through a lesson on informal writing and conversational tone, but I didn’t. I’m sure he was grateful.

When I write here on the blog and also when I write devotionals I prefer a conversational voice. Yes, it breaks the rules of formal writing, but there are benefits.

  • A conversational tone connects the reader with the writer.
  • It allows the writer to get ideas across using fewer words.
  • It holds readers’ interest longer and makes them want to read more.
  • A conversational tone is more inviting and entertaining.
  • It increases readership.
  • A conversational tone flows easily and naturally, like a friendly conversation with Randy!

dialoogKurt Vonnegut said, “The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child . . . I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am.”

 

Think about your writing style. Is it formal or informal?
What about your style makes your readers want to come back for more?

__________________________________________

If you are on Facebook, Check out my page where I post articles
and inspiration for writers.

fbheader617 copy
_____________________________

*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing craft, Writing Style