Friday, August 2, 2013

The Time-Honored Tradition of Making Things Up

Writers make things up. And sometime even non-fiction writers do it, although that is generally frowned upon by publishers unless you let them know ahead of time you’re doing it (and even after it’s discovered, you can very occasionally get away with it at least for a while if you write a book that is famous and/or influential enough. Examples: Pulitzer Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu and sorry-to-burst-your-bubble Alex Haley of Roots fame.)

Readers appreciate a heads-up signal to let them know, look, there’s some fictionalizing going on here. I recently did that in my co-authored non-fiction book, Discovering the City of Sodom, when I depicted the four traditional views on something by letting some (well-labeled) fictionalized characters, who exemplified those views, dramatize them in dialogue.

But fiction writers – ah, we get to make things up all the time.




Universes, even!

And at the micro level, we get to make up words. By so doing, we are following in the footsteps of none less than William Shakespeare, who according to Shakespeare Online  invented over 1700 words (many of which I thought were quite modern such as zany, amazement, and cater, for example.)

I’m working on a suspense novel co-written with a friend. In it, I have a 16-year-old girl who uses great “new” words that are actually in use by the daughters of a friend of mine. Like, “teenagery.”  And my favorite: “handitizer.”

Help me out, here, readers. Have any of your teenage friends or family taught you any new words that I can abduct for my WIP? 


Megan Sayer said...

Oh soz. Can't think of anything. Frowny face.

(BWAHAHAHAHA!!! YES!!! Teenagers down here actually SAY sentences like that. I still can't believe you can shorten an apology to "soz" and actually make it mean something. What's so wrong with good old "sorry?"? And saying "frowny face" while smiling is just...umm...well, it's weird, soz.)

Do American teenagers say soz? I know Australians are reknowned for shortening words. Is it just a local thing?

Latayne C Scott said...

No, I've not heard "soz," but that's got my mind going!

Patti Hill said...

On the tv show The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, not a teenager but an appropriately immature physicist, says, "Bazinga!" You could probably slapped together some consonants and vowels that sorta make a word, and it would work.

I recently read, for book club, a memoir by Isable Allende, My Invented Country. Now, we all expect memoirs to be part exaggeration, omission, and lies, but she comes out and says that is exactly the case with her memoir. I'm not sure why this irritated me, but I didn't enjoy the book.

I loved how you brought the subject to life with the fiction in your Sodom book. Very different.

Jennifer Major said...

Ohhh, here's a few from the world of Under 18 hockey...

Bench warmer-kid who never gets on the ice
Pine-butt- see above
Bender-kid who cannot skate. Example, "his skates are so loose, you can tell he's a total bender".
Jersied-had his jersey pulled over his head in a fight, also means he lost the fight.
Rink bunny-girls who hang out at the ink to meet hockey players
Flow-perfect hair that flows backward and fits into a helmet. It flows backward because it's always IN a helmet.
Newb-I'm guessing this is obvious
Locker food- wimp who gets stuffed into a locker
Chillax-chill out and relax

Can you tell I live with teenagers?

Latayne C Scott said...

Thank you, Patti dearest. Your words always mean so much to me.

Jennifer, those are some really good ones!

Unknown said...

Not so much as teen talk, but Deep East Texas talk-
Don't get blowed away
I'm fixin to go dere
I need to carry her to the store
Ain't is used all the time, Jeanne May's scientist teacher (who was a former English teacher) used ain't all the time. JM needs to retake English now! I'm sure you'll come up with some good stuff you always have.

Latayne C Scott said...

Thank you, Jeanne AKA Marie to me! Those were great!