On Making Up Words
by Leife Shallcross (writing at leifeshallcross.wordpress.com)
In 2011, when I decided to ‘get serious’ about my writing, one of the first things I did was book myself into a Year of the Novel course with the very knowledgeable and generous Craig Cormick, through the ACT Writers Centre. One of the very first exercises he got us to do, was describe our favourite kitchen appliance in one sentence, without mentioning what it is. I came up with:
When it’s packed, the mess is gone, and I can go and write.
(Can you guess?) Then, of course, we had to condense it down to one word. One word? The man is crazy, I thought. Then he uttered the magic phrase… “If there isn’t a word, you can make one up.” (Or something like that.) Awesome. It came to me almost straight away.