Need a word? No problem. You’ve learned lots of words in the years you’ve been around. Remember elementary school? Oh yeah, there was an entire drill with cute pictures…
Cat, bat, sat, rat, fat, hat, mat…
So, you need a word you don’t already know? Rejoice, for the resources waiting to provide you with the word you desire are beyond imagining, especially in this computerized age. If you’re willing to take the time there’s no word, English or otherwise, that you can’t find.
Unless you’re a fantasy writer seeking to construct a world.
What’s the word for those gigantic platforms suspended between massive trees in Forstava? You know, the ones the ora’ean construct entire cities upon, some at different heights and overlapping others?
Not only isn’t Google bringing up the word I’m looking for, but Google is telling me there aren’t any ora’ean living in Forstava because there aren’t any ora’ean and Forstava doesn’t exist.
Time to summon a word from the deepest recesses of my mind…
Nice word. I like it. Works for me and it’s grounded (whoops, pun) rooted (whoops, another…) derived from the real word arboreal, which is of or relating to living in trees. That wasn’t too hard.
What’s the word for the trees they suspend arboreals from? You know, the ones they train to extend branches to others and then weave together? You know, the ones they teach to supply water to the ora’ean (that don’t exist) living on those arboreals? You know, the trees with the black bark and trunks that are often fifty feet in diameter?
And on it goes. After awhile you’re screaming at fictitious gods and uttering newly invented swear words because you’ve forgotten what that word was that you used in an earlier chapter.
And then there are the locations (Brillica), celebrations (Auraluma), objects (crypt vessel), historical events (Dying Time), creatures (cirque cat), spells (Implosion Cycle)…
Perhaps you’ve given new meaning to existing words (gargoyle, practitioner, seer)?
Time for a glossary (or whatever you want to call it). Time to create a record because our overworked brains aren’t going to remember everything, and inspiration doesn’t always coincide with the moment the word is needed.
You don’t want to lose inspiration.
Too, because you have that glossary you become braver and more willing to expand your fantasy vocabulary, to journey deeper into that land of words where your world becomes ever richer. Yes, as you may have guessed, I created a glossary and it’s been invaluable, especially because I was away from my WIP for several years. It’s also another aid for keeping your spelling consistent (so is saving words to your computer’s library).
Anyone else have any successes, horror stories, or insights when it comes to managing world building language in a glossary? Please share.