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Neologisms

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Let's talk about making up words. I see this done most commonly as an interjection/sound effect or in otherwise humorous/unserious way. In A Visitor for Bear, Bear stoppers up the chimney and Mouse asks that he unstopper it. Stopper is certainly not a verb but it is a funny usage because it is used three times, each a little longer and the meaning is obvious. In a PB WIP, I'm debating whether to use the word "stumblesome" as a modifier of a slope, rather than something like "stumbled down the slope". The tone is more lyrical and not humorous in this part, so I'm wondering if the novel word would be too jarring or off-putting. I'm also wondering if it would be a reason for my MS to be tossed on the slush pile because it was written by some rube that doesn't own a dictionary.
#1 - November 30, 2013, 12:15 PM

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As an editor, I wouldn't have a problem with this, particularly if you show by your use of language overall that you are fully in command...
#2 - November 30, 2013, 04:38 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

I like the word and it sounds as if in context, the meaning would be clear. Perhaps an editor would find fault with a word that was gibberishy. Hey - let's ALL make up words.

 :lol4
#3 - November 30, 2013, 04:42 PM

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I like it.

And if, as Harold and Donna have said, you've shown that it's not thrown in superfluously, I like it even more. Which it sounds like you have.

Making up words is why we have new words to use, right?
#4 - November 30, 2013, 06:07 PM

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Thanks!
#5 - December 01, 2013, 10:05 AM

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I like it, too. Here are some sledders for your stumblesome slope.  :sled:
#6 - December 01, 2013, 11:20 AM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
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Please post the manuscript in the exchange (if you're an SCBWI member) so we can see it in context. The word itself sounds fine, but I can't judge whether it would jar the reader unless I see it in context. As you've suggested, there are many factors to consider including tone and rhythm. Write it and then decide if it works.
#7 - December 02, 2013, 08:49 AM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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Thanks for pointing that out, Debbie -I just posted it in the exchange.
#8 - December 02, 2013, 05:22 PM

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