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Constructed Vocabulary

I am a BIG Charlaine Harris fan. I buy everything she writes (usually on the day it comes out). I started with the Sookie Stackhouse series, then quickly devoured the Lily Bard, Aurora Teagarden, and Harper Connelly books as well. Between books, I regularly visit Mrs. Harris’s webpage in hopes of learning more about the next book. On her latest blog post, Charlaine offers a few book reviews and hints at a new series (no title or description yet – dang!) She also outlined her process of beginning a new story. I won’t go into too much detail. You can visit her page yourself. But one sentence really caught my attention. She wrote: “After I set the tone and vocabulary for the book, I may rewrite the first sentence several times.” And I wondered about the ‘vocabulary’ part. Was she referring to the ‘vocabulary’ spoken by the characters (i.e. regional phrases, or period dialect) ? Or perhaps it means the words she invented that are unique to her books?

I thought about my own writing. In many cases, I had to alter a word or redefine a word for my purpose. I don’t have anything as delightful as ‘Fang Bang’ from the Sookie series, but below I listed some of the vocabulary I developed for  Solstice Night.

CLUTCH

Noun. Vampire ‘family’ unit. A small group of vampires that live and hunt together.

CHIEF

Noun. Vampire leader of a territory. A territory may be a town, city or geographical region.

IMPETUS

Noun. A vampire that turns a human into a vampire.

TRAVERSE

Noun. The practice of settling a dispute with one-on-one combat. Two opposing parties agree to terms based on the outcome of the two fighters.

HYDRA

Noun. Poison. It immobilizes the drinker and causes a terrible burning sensation.

DAY DEATH

The hours surrounding solar noon when a vampire must sleep. The vampire is completely unconscious and by all appearances ‘Dead’. The older the vampire the less they sleep.

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