That's it - clean, clear and simple. So, of course, that's what you should strive to do, right? You should make every effort to avoid making up a new word if you can because the act of creating new words is the mark of an amateur that will live in obscurity for the rest of time. You know, like Shakespeare.
And countless other words you've probably heard on the street or in a rap song. So of course, as you can clearly see, it's dangerous to make new words because if you do you'll be forever forgotten and unwanted for the rest of eternity, just like Shakespeare.
Well this, like most common wisdom, is bullshit created by two things: watching someone do it badly and deciding that's how everyone's results will turn out. If anyone screws up, for any reason, you'll notice that people have a tendency to assume that the reason it failed was because it was done and not how it was done.
Shakespeare, clearly, managed to create thousands of words and phrases over his career and he suffered no consequences for this "crime" in the eyes of history. If you feel like you should do it too, then you should. if only to be true to yourself. A lot of authors who give advice today feel they're in a position to give advice, that you should follow their lead because they're ahead of you somewhere. But if you're going to aim to be an author, why not aim for Shakespeare?
|Not that way|
Consider the classic authors and how many of them created a word or used one that hadn't been used for ages. Mithril, quark, nerd, robotics, cyberspace and even the term tween (which you can't escape anymore) were all words cooked up to fill a need in an author's work. But notice what works about these and what doesn't about others. When you look at some ridiculous words like "teleojuxtaposition", "granfalloon" or "speelycaptor".
Seriously, sit there and try to read that first one out loud and you'll see exactly what the difference is. It's not just about the difficulty of saying it, but about how jumbled it sounds when you do say it. These things completely lack musicality. (a word made up in the mid 19th century, by the way)
Perhaps the lesson that should be taught isn't "don't make new words" but rather "if you make new words, make sure they don't sound like crap." This seems like a simple concept because it is. If you're going to make up a new word, make sure you can say it and that other people can say it too. If it sounds like a mouth-full, it is, and no one is going to want to say it with you. It's a handy rule of thumb, don't you think?
|Though, sometimes, it's not the word|
Someone has to come up with this shit.
And as for me? I came up with some original words in my books. Give them a look, maybe someday they'll be added to the dictionary too.