EDIT FOR CLARITY: A Style Sheet is NOT a sheet asking for or demanding changes to MY book. No one can or would or even wants to change my words. NO one can or would even want to shift so much as a THE or an AND without checking it against my intent. The Style Sheet is my FRIEND — it is there to make sure that the words I make up or the neologisms I peel from the current evolving Engl-o-verse (I made that up!) are spelled the same every time they are used in the book. This is NOT a fuss I am having with Grand Central or copy editors or even English. This is my lovely, dear copy editor making me look smarter than I am, and me being amused with all these weird words she has to deal with!
I make up words. You KNOW I make up words. I do it here alla time. Then I pretend I didn’t by saying, “That’s totally a word,” and in a WAY, I am right, because the ones I make up have letters and are useable in sentences. They have grammatical functions and each has a meaning that is hopefully, on good days, made clear by context, and isn’t that pretty much a word?
I meant that question to be rhetorical, but I am now doing my copy edits. If you remember how I feel while doing copy edits, you know this means I am having a compulsive kind of afternoon. This is MY LAST SHOT at this, and if ANYTHING is in question, then I have to look it up. So now I have to look the definition of word up…
The dictionary says, “A sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing or printing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning.” SO there you have it, or in more triumphant terms: YES! THEY ALL ARE TOTALLY A WORDS! (See why I need a copy editor?)
You want to know how compulsive I am today???? Truthfully, I DID pause in the blogging and go look up the word WORD, and I cut and pasted the definition; I am being driven a little crazy to think that a single three dot ellipses is supposed to represent an absence of AT LEAST nine seconds. You will look at that three dot ellipses for maybe .005 of a second before going and reading the definition. IT ISN’T REALISTIC. Any good copy editor would have caught that…
But to stop digressing in the middle of a digression, I mention my word-making-up tendencies because I am now doing the copy edits on A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. AGUKOP has three narrators, and ONE of them somehow got infested with my own tendency to make up words and say them like they are perfectly respectable words of long standing. She says them all casual, as if they were words your granny used, and her granny before that, and she doesn’t have my compulsive need to yell THAT’S TOTALLY A WORD all defensively right after.
I never noticed she even DID THAT until I saw the Style Sheet—there is a WHOLE page called
It is so large that it includes subsections. My favorite is currently “Spelling of adjectivized nouns and verbs.” This character has HOSTS of adjectivized nouns and verbs, and IRONICALLY (in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word) my spell check says that adjectivized IS A MADE UP WORD. Anyway—here is a small sampling of the ones this character used:
(INTERRUPTION: I really like these next four, which, if you say them VERY FAST in a chain, sound like a great band name.)
Ragey, smitey, soothey, starvey
(The band’s fans would call them RS3.)
Then I have a WHOLE category I have never seen in a style sheet before, called
“Other unclassifiable slang, dialect, neologisms”
I don’t know what a neologism is, but apparently, I stuck a BUNCH of them in this book. (In the process of typing that sentence I already knew I would have to go look it up. MAN but I am having a compulsive kind of day) …BRB. OKAY! It took me about 17 seconds to look that one up because I had to go two places, so if you wish to approximate that wait time, as if I were looking it up now, AS IS PROPER, you can watch this short video of a surprised kitten:
BACK! That cat owner sure has a high pitched voice!
Now, I know teachers, and probably copy editors, do not accept Wikipedia as a source, but I am going to LOVE THE WIKI because the Wikipedia WISELY and KINDLY said that a neologism is “a newly coined term, word or phrase, that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language.”
Meanwhile? Miriam WEBSTER is kind of a poop. MW says a neologism is “a meaningless word coined by a psychotic.”
To which I make a miffed noise and resolve to trust Wikipedia exclusively from here on out. I will even let The Wiki do my TAXES and any DICTIONARY that wants to do my taxes can suck it.
ANYWAY, here are some of the funner unclassifiable slang, dialect, and neologisms that are in this book (FUNNER IS A WORD):
Reading those out loud in a chain makes me laugh. Also, the word weenus, all by itself, makes me laugh. I am twelve. But copy edits do not make me laugh.
OH! BEST BELOVEDS! MAKE AN ENCOURAGING NOISE AT ME, OR EVEN BETTER—- SHOW ME MORE SURPRISED KITTEN VIDEOS, because otherwise, Lord help me, I am going back in…
STET! STET! STET! OKAY! OKAY! STET!