Thursday, April 7, 2011
For the letter F, I received 63 suggestions. Random.org selected number 10: frak.
What the frak am I talking about? Frak's not a real word. How could this end up as the topic of my blog post today?
Frak, as you may or may not know, is the swear word of choice for the characters from Battlestar Gallactica. According to Wikipedia, I can mean any of our three main 4-letter words (you know, starting with F, S, and D, respectively) for the poor victims of the Cylon Wars. And the best part about the word "frak"?
It doesn't get bleeped.
Creating terms for our fiction can be useful, especially with profanity, as it's not as necessary to define it. The meaning of expletives can be gleaned by the reader by context alone, without lengthy exposition. For example, in my own fiction, my characters have two main swear words: "sprick" as in "that sprickin' jerk" or just plain "Sprick!" and "frut", which is more of a noun and less a verb.
Other words may require greater explanation. In my own personal writing journey, I recently discovered this during the Nature of Magic Blogfest, hosted by Tessa Conte and Laura Diamond In this excerpt, my character "veiled" herself. In my mind, that was perfectly clear—she used magic to create a false image around her (in this case, the image of nothing at all), kind of like putting a jacket on a book. What I hadn't anticipated was that other people would read this as meaning "invisibility cloak". What does that mean? I didn't define my term well enough.
Back to the drawing board for me :)
Do you coin new terms in your fiction? What kinds of terms? Profanity, or basic penny words?
PS--Today I'm taking suggestions for J. Have some? Leave them below.