I make up words all the time because they better reflect what I want to say. Portmanteau words that pull together different ideas to create one. Examples of such words that I have not created: dramedy, rockumentary, cosplay, jazzercise, literotica, and so on. I know some people hate these words, or words that are nouns made into verbs (google a subject, for instance, or disrespect someone). But I’m okay with those. Sometimes they ping me a little, but really, the words that bother me and make me wince, are the words that are different iterations of common words that are used just for fanciness, or so it seems to me.
I hate hesitancy in place of hesitation. In fact, a lot of the words that drives me nuts end in -ancy or -ency. Like Aberrancy in place of aberrance. Rampancy for rampant. Expectancy for expectant. There’s a lot of these words. And they are real words, so my wincing doesn’t make a lot of sense, and yet . . . They drive me up a wall. It feels pretentious, even though it probably isn’t. I think it’s because the form I dislike is used less often and therefore feels that it’s a reach because the ordinary form is just that . . . ordinary.
There’s this thing called the willing suspension of disbelief. That’s when you start a story as a reader, you willingly let go of your disbelief that say magic can happen, or that a planet exists, or that humans have colonized space. You say–yes. I’m going to believe the world the author has created and in this people that don’t exist. I’m going to believe it for the entire length of the book. Now the author side of that contract is the author promises that the world will be cohesive and coherent, and that nothing in the book will throw you out of it and make you go . . . wha-?
Things that throw you out tend to be anachronisms–like modern language in a medieval setting, or current slang in a future setting. Like when a future colonizer says–that so sick, dude! Other things are when the world doesn’t makes sense, or history has been changed inexplicably and so on and so forth. It’s probably happened to you before for various reasons.
These wince words throw me out of a story or anywhere they are included. I start paying very little attention to what’s happening and instead focus on the way in which it’s happening.
What are your wince words?