Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who creates the words you write?


Last night I said, without thinking, something that I've been reading around on the blogosphere for a while now in response to something my brother said (he said he wanted to hit me over the back of the head for that one). What was this mischievous word? "Awesomesauce". A word that I first learnt from reading the fantastic Elana Johnson's blog, but have seen it around on so many blogs ever since.

What does it mean? Well, doing a random Google search (you gotta love Google, everything under the tips of your finger) I came upon the definition in Urban Dictionary:

Something or someone truly amazing. Usually: more awesome than the word "awesome" can describe.

This made me think where do the words come from (and do the people who create them actually get any credit)? You've got to admit it, someone had to be behind creating slang terms and catch phrases. There's IM, 1337 (pronounced as Leet) and even Vulcan (I have to hand it to the fans for creating an entire language out of snippets from a tv show).

These words and new languages have been used in many stories, and sometimes they even change meaning due to the person and generation they're speaking to. Hey, when LOL became popular it took me a while to figure that it stood for "Laugh Out Loud". Now I hear you laughing, but I could've sworn that it meant "Lots of Love" which was it's previous meaning.

When you write do you use any catchphrases or slang to show the characters age and relate to the readers of the now? Do you stay away from such trends so that there will be no communication breakdown? Or, do you just not think about the words/slang you write and just write?

7 comments:

Michelle McLean said...

I try to stay away from anything too trendy because 10 years from now, someone could pick up my book and have no clue what I'm saying. Words like cool and awesome and Dude I'll use because even if they are no longer "in" they are still understandable. Describing something awesome as "sick" on the other hand will just be confusing to a new generation.

Cheree said...

That's the problem. Trends change all the time so it's hard to keep up with what words mean. Fat, Bad, etc they all change connotation (I'm still trying to keep up with what things mean today without worrying about the future).

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love Elana and I love the word awesomesauce! :-)pitchrop

Lisa and Laura said...

We definitely use made up words in our manuscript--but we're hoping they will still be funny in years to come. We're probably wrong.

Lydia Kang said...

I worry about using slang that will be dated too. When I write contemporary fiction I try to stay away from anything too trendy...

Jen said...

I love awesomesauce it's one of my favorites I also use Fun-tastic and other fun words!!! I don't use them in my book but I do use other fun words that will change in years to come I'm sure, my MC just doesn't have the same personality as I do so she wouldn't use those words!

Great post! Elana Rocks!

beth said...

I like throwing fun dialog and slang in my WIPs! My latest fav word: beasting. As in, "I totally beasted that basketball game!"

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