I’m sure I’m not the only writer who occasionally gets bogged down in words. I LOVE words, but sometimes I seem to drown in them. Right now, on the bulletin board over my desk I have two words on little pieces of paper, tacked up there haunting me, taunting me to use them in one story or another.
Crepuscular: referring to animals active in twilight
Crepuscular has been up on the board for too long. It’s a luscious word, but outside of nature writing it feels a bit pretentious. I’m sure it’ll find its way into a story about vampires or other creatures of the night, but it needs the right story. Maybe it’s destined for a story about a 19th century naturalist hunting a rare insect and stumbling upon something on a much larger scale?
Cryptonym: a secret or code name
This is a spy-thriller word, but the challenge would be to use it in another context. It’s on the same piece of paper as a note about selenium poisoning. I think there’s a murder mystery germinating on that scrap of paper?
MONSTER words are used in all sorts of contexts. MONSTROSITY is used to describe all sorts of things from huge, ugly buildings to anything that is outrageous, offensive and wrong on a grand scale.
You’ll hear pundits use it when talking about politics. “That legislation is a monstrosity!” “The gaff in the debate was monstrous!” It suits political hyperbole and the attitude of cable news reporters.
Frankenstein’s monster has become an easy metaphor for anything that is a combination of disparate parts. It’s a tempting reference and it comes up all the time. Mary Shelley’s creation has also become synonymous with ugly — again on a grand/monstrous scale.
The “Frankenfish” (AKA Northern Snakehead) is truly an unappealing creature. It’s a predator fish that can live for extended periods OUTSIDE water and its been known to devastate local populations of frogs and fish. This spring warning signs went up in New York’s Central Park advising anyone who caught one to kill it, freeze it, report it and basically NOT to throw it back into the water where it could damage the delicate equilibrium from its natural habitat in Russia, China and Korea. It’s a monster.