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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Perhaps there are tests to complete and qualifications to earn before you can call yourself a fantasy fiction writer. I felt compelled to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I loathed the details of physical battles, but I appreciated … Continue reading →
Embarrassingly enough, I watched the entire Bring It On: All Or Nothing movie yesterday. After all of Hayden Panettiere’s awful krumping skills and Solange Knowles “not-as-good-as-my-sister’s” dance combinations, I thought of another topic for my blog. Hurray for the things that inspire me!
Throughout the movie, Hayden “Planetarium” (as my dad likes to call her) is trying to figure out which one of girls posing as her friend truly has her best interest in mind and who is going to stab her in the back. Alas, we come to the term ‘frenemy.’ There are definitely better examples in fantasy fiction than the cheer template, so let’s move on.
One of my favorites is Katniss Everdeen and Johanna Mason in the Hunger Games series. Having won the games just a few years before Katniss, the two are close in age and viewed as immediate rivals. Their relationship is never smooth, but as time goes on it becomes more apparent they have the same goals and values. A mutual agreement is made when Katniss brings Johanna pine needles to remind her of home in District 7.
Another great example is Remus Lupin and Severus Snape from the Harry Potter books. Part of different crowds in school, Remus in Gryffindor and Snape in Slytherin, their youth was spent bullying and competing. However, the tragic years (and Dumbledore) made them respect each other, as evidenced by Snape’s production of the wolfsbane potion to ease Remus’s symptoms during the full moon.
My favorite example is a little less famous; Olivia Hart and Chelsea Steinem from the Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program series. Since the day Chelsea started dating Olivia’s ex-boyfriend, she shouted snide comments, gave evil looks, and overall made Olivia’s life a living hell. When a villain comes knocking at their door, they put their differences aside, and recognize how much they have in common.
This post is dedicated to my original frenemy, Sarah Moeller. We wasted a year hating each other, only to realize we had more to gain from being friends, than enemies. In fact, she is one of my favorite people on the planet. Her passion and selflessness inspires me, and her love sustains and comforts me. With over a decade of friendship, we’ve more than made up for that year, and I know we will continue to be best friends for the rest of our lives.