Inspiring words

Jeroen Steenbeeke  
Posted
Some questions do not have simply answers. This can get a bit frustrating when you're using Twitter, as your messages are limited to a 140 characters. Fortunately, I have a website that allows me to give longer answers to those questions.�In this particular case, the cause of this post was a message by @judyblackcloud asking us what words inspire us.

Well, where to start? I can communicate to some extent in 5 languages (assuming we consider Low Saxon to be a separate language and not a Dutch dialect), and know a variety of words in about 5 more languages. But those are words I know, not necessarily words that inspire me.

Words that truly inspire me are words that are part of a greater whole, words that trigger associations with elements of the story I am working on. Examples of these are words such as fealty, and liege lord, which are bound to show up in a fantasy world that is largely medieval in setting. But my inspiration is not limited to feudal terms. The word embrace I also find inspiring, as it describes an action that involves at least two people, and can used in subtly different ways to mean different ways. An embrace can mean a hug, but also something more private (incidentally, the first chapter of Gift of the Destroyer is called Lover's Embrace), or something peculiar to the world you are writing about (for instance, in certain vampire stories, an embrace is the act of turning another person into a vampire).

But in many cases, words that inspire me are words that simply sound good to me. Good example are the words�anthem, heart and evasion. In many cases such words sound better than they do in my native language (Dutch), such as eye (as opposed to Dutch "oog"). But others I simply find pleasing to hear without comparing them to Dutch (or English for that matter), such as: ayla (Hebrew for "Oak Tree", Turkish for "Moonlight" - well sort of), närmre (Swedish for "closer"), röst (Swedish for "voice"), Heimat (German for "homeland"), invictus (Latin for someone who is invincible), corona (Latin for crown) and�Bealtaine (Irish festival in May). A great way to find out about such words is to listen to foreign music by the way.