Creative Terms for Fiction
How great are the inventive words used to describe a new thing, event, or action in fiction? There are tons of examples. Here are a few of my favorites:
- An animagus is a person who can morph into an animal – from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
- Similarly, a warg is a person who can enter the minds of animals – from George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones series.
- The reaping is an event when a boy and a girl are chosen from each district to participate in the Hunger Games – from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series.
- Buggers are insect-like aliens – from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series
- A mudblood is a magical person born to non-magical parents – from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
- A half-blood is a person born from one parent who is a mythological god and one who is not – from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series.
- Quidditch is a professional sport in the wizarding world – from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
How do you invent a new term?
For my new series, (after)life lessons, I tried to be thoughtful about new terms. You can’t rename everything or your reader will get lost. However, it is fun to imagine your new term catching on and being used in casual conversation!
My series is based on the premise that spirits exist in our world and certain people have the ability to see them. Simply put, some people are spirit-seers and called visumaries, while others who can not see spirits are ableptic.
Why do you choose the terms?
Sometimes authors choose the word because of the phonetic appeal – it sounds similar to another word that conveys a certain meaning. Other authors perform deep research on Latin roots or Greek mythology.
I felt the word visumary sounded similar to visionary, like they have the ability to see things others can’t.
Ableptic has a harsher sound – “bleh.” It is less musical, similar to J.K. Rowling’s choice of squib for a person born into a magical family, but has no magical abilities. Also, in English, “ablepsia” means lack of sight or blindness.
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