If there is one thing that defines all fantasy writers is the fact that sooner or later you will come up with a nonsensical word. Be it a person, place, or a thing, you will create a word that does not exist in any known language. And if you’re truly gifted, you might even create an entirely new language to go along with that nonsense word.
I’m certainly no J.R.R. Tolkien, so my nonsensical words don’t encompass an entire new vocabulary, but I still have to create them. And when I say have to I mean it seems to be the expectation of all fantasy readers that their authors will create words that shouldn’t exist just as they are creating worlds that don’t exist.
When I started writing, that was the most difficult thing I had to tackle and often times something that stopped me mid-sentence. I felt beholden to centuries of English teachers to write using “real” words and felt skittish about venturing off that proper road. But, as they say, “some rules are made to broken.” And once I started, it became easier and easier to the point where I could create nonsensical words whenever I needed to.
Case and point:
Okay that last one is an actual thing (look it up).
These days, I feel a certain level of release to be able to create words that shouldn’t exist; it solidifies the point that I am creating a world, it is mine to shape and define, and I shouldn’t have to be beholden to anyone’s logic.
That being said, one still has to ground the nonsensical in the logical. That is also one of the disadvantages of writing fiction and fantasy in particular: the world may be imagined but it still must abide by certain laws or guidelines, otherwise readers will have a hard time accepting it.
So feel free to be as nonsensical or fantastical as you wish, but keep it sensible.