Writers always want to know how they can bring their characters to life and make their world feel more authentic. It’ not hard to find a writing lesson about tips for world-building or character development, but putting it all together can be tricky.
In order to truly capture the essence of the world you see in your head, it’s better to break it down and focus on one aspect at a time. The smallest details can leave the biggest impact on readers. What you’re characters say and how they say it will not only establish their personalities but also demonstrate what type of world they live in.
You don’t have to craft an entire language for your readers to decipher, either. Consider adding some made-up words that are unique to your world. Not only will this establish a sense of history, but it will help readers feel more connected to your characters.
Do you have to use slang in your writing?
Slang is something everyone uses to some degree. Think about how many colloquial words or expressions you came across today before reading this blog post. Chances are you use such words every day in your writing, with your friends or just in everyday communication.
Casual words simplify our dialogue and create a sense of connection. People who can use slang with one another often feel more comfortable together, and introducing that notion into your writing will make your characters feel more human and help establish their relationships.
The Writing Lesson: How to Make Your Own Words
It isn’t as hard as you might think to create words that are unique to your characters’ world. One thing you want to consider beforehand is where these words come from, what type of people use them and what connotations they might have in your real language.
Some expressions and words are used by people of all ages, while others are specific to a certain demographic. Teenagers are more likely to use words like “dope” or “lit” than a 40-year-old man, but both adults and adolescents use terms like “crash” or “screw up” all the time.
When you want to create new words for your novel, it’s important to consider how old your characters are and whether or not these words make sense for them. You can use your own words to inject humor into your writing as one character may be prone to speaking casually all the time while another is more formal. The juxtaposition of their personalities, along with an unexpected use of a word from an uptight character, can be a bonding moment for your readers.
A great way to create a sense of geography and culture in your story is to develop words that are unique to specific dialects. Two characters may use a different word to describe the same thing. Their choice of vocabulary will demonstrate how each of their culture’s view certain topics.
Remember that dialects often provide confusion in everyday conversation. Some characters may use your new words to tease one another, while others might think they’re dumb or find them downright senseless.
Using Your Words to Create Connections
When you want to make up words for your story, look to be descriptive. Consider their appearance and function to derive a new word. Take the word “dust.” In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” this word is used to describe killing a vampire because that’s exactly what they turn into once they’ve been staked.
Use your terms to provide greater insight to your readers and make your characters feel more personable. Think about where your characters live and what they value. Often, people derive common terms and descriptions from comparisons that make sense to them. Your new words will allow your world to feel more vibrant, dynamic and relatable to your audience.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this writing lesson! Let us know what words you came up with, and how they help bring your story to life!