Writing Exercise – Making Up Words

In 2004 I was lucky enough to take a class with Lucy Anderton. If you don’t know of her, look her up, she is an amazing woman and an excellent teacher. I believe that I have her to thank for breaking me out of my oh-so-cozy shell. I am still considered shy by most, but nothing compared to what I was then. And while Lucy’s class was ultimately a writing course, she had us do what she called ‘drama exercises’ which severely tested my comfort boundaries, but I’m glad for them now. They were meant to open our minds, to let us play with words before we got down to the serious business of writing.

My favorite exercise that she taught us is one where we were each asked to make up words and define them. It sounds simple, right?  But it is brilliant, not to mention a blast.

The Exercise

1. Get a friend or two. (optional)

2. If you have friends with you, each of you should make up at least one word. Write them down.

3. Now share your words outloud. Write down your friends’ words along with your own.

4. Define them! Everyone should define their own word(s) along with those of their friends! Take your time, and write down your definitions.

5. Share! It’s great to see how each of you defined your words differently, or the same!

My writer friends and I still play this game when we get together… The dorks that we are.

So, give it a try! And if you do, please let me know what you come up with! Make up your own words, or ask a friend to make some up for you. Give it a part of speech, a meaning.

Here, I’ll even get you started.

2. Feandir
3. Onope
4. Ludaree

Now get defining!

Oh, and fair is fair. If you define one of my words, I’ll define one of yours. 😛


ROW80 Check in…….

  • Blog three times a week: Only once this week… *sad*
  • Read and Comment on 5 other blogs daily: Slacking…
  • Work on my Novel in Progress 1 hour a day: One thing at least that I’m sticking to! (and the most important. ^^)
  • Finish my MFA apps by their deadlines: All done!
  • Complete Mass Effect 2 by March 6th: Done!
  • Wake up earlier: Had to be to work by 7:30 this week, so definitely done. ^^

6 thoughts on “Writing Exercise – Making Up Words

  1. I LOVE this idea! I’m at work at the moment so I can’t sit and ponder but I am liking the post so I can find it again and get back to you! And maybe come up with some of my own. This is one thing I have always struggled with.

  2. Oooh that game is awesome! I’m totally going to use it in my writing group! Thanks.

    1.Torration comes from the root words Tor which means to tear and Ra the sun god. So Torration is the noun form of to tear the sun god. Often used as a profanity. Great Torration!
    2. Feandir means to destroy to create. This comes from the root words Fe which means to destroy and ir which means to create.
    3. Onope is the name of a capitial of a nation. The name of the city comes from the word Ono which means good, satisfying, or tasty. Known particularly for the great culinary dishes of the city.
    4. Ludaree is a name which means Crazy.

    Most of these words found some root inside the word that made sense to me to build. Here are some words for you.


    All are words from my own fiction, just wondering what you would make of them! Thanks!

    • Haha! ‘Great Torration!’ made me laugh out loud. Awesome definitions. And, as promised, here are yours! 

      Abisala- worshipping the absence of things. There are no deities included in this worship, just absence.

      Pavor- to have pavor. To have guts and bravery beyond that of the average human; often to an extreme that can result in self- harm.

      Raginar- ” You’re looking very raginar today.” The appearance of being sick or diseased.

      Aharon- A historical king that was known for getting things done despite the cost. King Aharon.

      I also had my contractor father give his definitions, since he asked what I was doing! Here they are.

      Aharon- the feeling you get from your surroundings.
      Raginar- a planet. Someone from Raginar is called a raginarian.
      Abisala- a part if a NASA spaceship. 

      Thanks for the words! It had been a while since I did the exercise myself. 🙂

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