Shakespeare did it. He made up around 3000 words, including amazed, moonbeam and majestic. And as a writer, as far as I’m concerned, if Shakespeare did it, then it’s okay by me. Science Fiction writers do it all the time – William Gibson invented the word ‘cyberspace’ and Anthony Burgess made up a whole language in Clockwork Orange.
Once upon a time, two drunken men, in Dublin, I believe, towards the end of the eighteenth century, bet each other that one of them couldn’t invent a new word and get everyone talking about it in 24 hours. The bet was taken, the word was invented, and the man painted it all over town. In 24 hours, everyone was taking about it, and the bet was won. The word was ‘quiz’.
Have I done it? There is a word on the internet, a popular word, that I never saw before I used it on a mailing list about ten years ago. (No, I won’t tell you what it is!) This week I came up with ‘sqooply’ to describe the wobbly, dizzy feeling you get when you’re ill, and your knees are shaky, and you just don’t feel right. I felt it deserved a word. And then there’s hampidampi – I don’t know what that is it yet, but it’s a good word, and deserves to mean something. (Feel free to use it, if you figure it out)
So don’t be afraid of it. If there isn’t a word, make it up. (Although Google it first, just to check it doesn’t actually exist). You’re a writer, a creative soul, you can pull whatever you need out of your mind.