1. banjina
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    banjina New Member

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    Creating New Terms in Fiction (novel)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by banjina, Jun 14, 2013.

    I'd like to know if it is acceptable to create new terms in fiction. The opening sentence to be exact. What is the proper way to go about doing it to be grammatically correct (as near as possible)? For example:
    The wild dancing duo (bumpscooted or bump-scooted) my way and I ducked behind a bulky stage post to avoid them.

    Much answers brings much love. Thanks.
     
  2. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Do it, as long as you justify it at some point.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I love 'bumpscooted,' as a new word/term, but had trouble with the sentence. Because we don't know what the word means, we need to get a clue, and the way you've written it makes it sound like Frank Sinatra... "I did it ...MY WAY."

    I think you need to choose another phrase. Maybe: The wild dancing duo bumpscooted in my direction, and I ducked behind a bulky stage post to avoid them.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed, @Jan. And therein lies the trouble with freshly coined neologisms that aren't intuitively obvious. Even having read wild dancing duo, the image I got from bump-scooted was people sitting at a bench, someone new coming along to sit and the person next to me bumping my tush in a friendly manner with their tush as a signal to scoot down, more room is needed. :)
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can't figure out what you mean by the term... what's being 'bumped'?... and how are they 'scooting'?... and i agree that 'my way' could be a bit confusing, so 'in my direction' or 'toward me' would solve that...
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Personally, I had no problem with this. I've seen authors do similar things a number of times. I think it is fine, used sparingly.
     
  7. banjina
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    banjina New Member

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    Thanks Jannert!

    Thanks Jannert! The wild dancing duo bumpscooted in my direction, and I ducked behind a bulky stage post to avoid them. That's exactly what I meant to write. I guess I could give a little more info as in the following:
    The wild dancing duo bumpscooted towards me like two frightened chicken on a shuffleboard, and I ducked behind a bulky stage post to avoid them.
     
  8. Simon Hayes
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    Simon Hayes New Member

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    The first sentence is tighter. There's too much 'like' in the second.
     
  9. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I'd probably be mildly irritated if new words were being created all the time without a clear purpose, but if your verbal creation is central to your setting, plot or character, by all means, why not? It certainly has the effect of drawing the reader into the story, if only to discover what the word means. ;)
     
  10. BillC
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    BillC Member

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    Look at 'Anathem' by Neal Stephenson. Not only does he create a whole new language, it is partially rooted in language a reader would know. He refers to "fras" and "surs", who are the monks (fathers) and nuns (sisters) at the "concents" (convents).

    I'm not doing the work justice with that snippet, but it couldn't hurt to have a look it as a really good example.
     
  11. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    The answer is a definite maybe. First, the reader must know what you mean, at least by context. In the example given, I have no idea of how "bumpscooted my way" differs or improves on a simple, "came my way," Then, it must serve some specific purpose, other then being self-consciously cute. And of most importance, there shouldn't be a more accurate word available.

    We want to use vivid and evocative language in telling our story, but it should never get in the way of the story, and must not be used in the same spirit as gluing on glitter to try to make it prettier.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like it, had no trouble imagining a dance move since it was a dancing duo doing it. I'd use the hyphen.
     
  13. m24p
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    m24p Member

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    Do you mean "The wildly dancing duo" as in they are two people actively dancing now? Or you you mean "the wild dancing duo" as in, two people who are pretty wild and dance together sometimes, but not right now? Or something else?
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Go ahead and do it. Just be aware that, once you start writing like this, you should probably keep it up, otherwise your first sentence will look like it came from a different book entirely.

    James Joyce did this kind of thing a lot, as did Anthony Burgess.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins did it in poetry. For example:

    "A beetling baldbright cloud through England
    Riding: there did storms not mingle? and
    Hailropes hustle and grind their
    Heavengravel? wolfsnow, worlds of it, wind there?"

    - from The Loss of the Eurydice
     
  15. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    The word is cool, but I somehow feel that you need the following sentence to really make it work. Say you randomly pull out a sentence from The Clockwork Orange and ask "does this make sense?" It may sound cool, but it still needs context to be both understood (or at least the meaning would be hinted to the reader, if not blatantly explained) and appreciated... As I see it, you need to keep the neologisms coming (because, if the reader likes it once, he would want to have some more), and keep them coming in reasonable amount (too much chocolate is never good), and of course keep the track of them (you don't want the same wacky new word meaning two separate things - except if you really WANT it to be used in different contexts)...
     

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