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Some of the best stories in history have words that the authors made up themselves. Think about Harry Potter and the words “muggle” and “squib.” Think about the Lord of the Rings. J. R. R. Tolkien not only created words, he created languages.

Have you ever thought about creating a new word to use in your story? Here are two ways to create a new word.

O Canada

A very fidgety gosfij. Photo by jurvetson 

The Randomizer Approach

One way to create a new word is to use what I like to call “The Randomizer Approach.”

Take 26 pieces of paper and write down one letter of the alphabet on each piece of paper; all twenty-six letters of it. Now close your eyes and point to five different letters. If you want a longer word, point to more than five letters. Make sure you have some vowels.

Now write down those letters on a different piece of paper and mix them around until it forms a word you like. Pretend that you’re creating a whole new word in the dictionary and write up a definition for your word. Be creative. Use your imagination. Here’s an example:

“Gosfij. Noun. A fidgety goose.”

Voila! You have a brand new word to use in your stories!

The Mush Approach

Another way to create a word is by using what I call “The Mush Approach.”

Pick any two words—you can choose two words that you like or you can flip through the dictionary and pick two random words to use. Take the two words and pretend you’re cutting them each in half. Use a half from each word and put them together. Create a definition for your word. Here’s another example from a different word I made up:

Sizzle + Bubble = Sizbub

Sizbub. Noun. A magical creature that tends to use lots of onomatopoeias while in conversation.

And there you have it! You’ve just made another word. (Joe here: This trick is also called portmanteau, but I like “The Mush Approach” better, don’t you?)

Need more grammar help? My favorite tool that helps find grammar problems and even generates reports to help improve my writing is ProWritingAid. Works with Word, Scrivener, Google Docs, and web browsers. Also, be sure to use my coupon code to get 25 percent off: WritePractice25

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PRACTICE

Use one of these techniques to create a new word.

Then write for fifteen minutes using that word as often as possible in your story. Make sure your readers understand what your word means.

Have fun!

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. You can follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
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