I’ve been at it again… I can’t help it… but what can a girl do when the english language doesn’t supply a word to cover what she wants to say?
It really all started when I wanted to describe the cold for the vacuum of space. So like a good ‘un I went to my dictionary, my thesaurus, my on-line dictionaries and thesaurus’s, the internet search machines such as google and could I find what I was looking for? Nix, zilch, nothing. In the end I opted for an invented word, vaccold, to put a place holder for when the right word does come along.
Ever since then I’ve given myself permission to invent words for my science fiction. The ground rules are simple.
- Make sure the word you are looking for isn’t already in a dictionary somewhere – having access to the shorter Oxford English Dictionary really does help here;
- If you can get away with using a word from another language that does have the right meaning – use that – yes, concepts and meanings exist in other languages that do not have an equivalent in english;
- Make sure the word is obvious in meaning, certainly at its first three uses in the story I’m writing – sometimes you don’t need to explain a word e.g. invisibilised.