At my work today (Temp Job not Proper Job) a guy came in to sort out the servers. They all kept bleating on about The Hive… and all it reminded me of was The Hive from the Resident Evil series (computer game or films, take your pick – I personally have the box set of films for when I’m feeling angry and want to see violence). It gave everything a very ominous theme. I half imagined walking out of work into a zombie-infested highstreet and having to battle my way home in shorts and with nothing but a hockey stick.
Which got me thinking – how do certain words become synonymous with concepts? Not in the boring noun-adjective-verb sense, but in the sense that if I write DRY MARTINI, you instantly think of James Bond. CONED BRA is Madonna, 42 is The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. How about ELVES? Or WRAITHS? What about DRAGONS?
So many words have such strong implications that it makes it hard to use them in any other way. For example, does anyone see a reference in my blog title to the late-and-greats? As soon I see that word, I am transported to that story and that time and those people.
For Alice in Wonderland, I think “maths” (this does make sense because the author was a mathematics lecturer, which put me off the book, among other reasons).
So here’s my question – can you take a word and use it in such a way that it becomes synonymous with you? Or are all words “owned” by someone now, and you have to go into the realms of creative make-believe for a brand new word?
Did you know Shakespeare made up over half the words he used, including the word BUBBLE? So, every time you see a bubble, will you hubble-bubble-toil-and-trouble like I do now?
And, more importantly, can I get away with using these sort of words in my very own way in my story that gives them brand new meaning? Will, one day, someone see or hear the word HUMPH and think of my books (by the way, “humph” was the first thing that came into my mind, not that I use it a lot… it’s been a long day). If so, what do you think the best word to use would be?