A to Z Challenge & IWSG: Bumperglint

This post is part of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year my theme is simply, "things I know." Some posts will be informational, some about life lessons, some about things I've learned as an author/blogger. This post also happens to be part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a bloghop dedicated to writers supporting one another through this crazy thing called 'being an author.' I hope you enjoy!

image from wikipedia.org
1. raised reflectors on roads, used to denote center lines, fire hydrants and other important transportation markers
"the tired driver listed toward the middle of the road, only startled back to attention when his tires went over the bumperglint along the center line"
synonyms: cat's eyes, road reflectors, road turtles

This word is made up! My husband checked out a book once of words that really should be 'real' words you can find in the dictionary, but for whatever reason aren't. But ever since he told me about the word bumperglint, it has been a ready part of my vocabulary. It's almost onomatopoetic, which I guess is why it stuck for me. So there you go, a new word for your vocabulary! Let's make it real.

So far as IWSG is concerned, I just wanted to take a brief moment to reflect on 'made-up' words. They are tricky, aren't they? We can want to create our own. I mean, we are authors, so we're very creative. We should be able to make our own words, right? But that can be dangerous. Not all of us are as brilliant and able to create entire languages as Tolkien. But at the same time it can make our writing more compact and engaging, if done right. I find that I am terrified to coin my own. Even if there's something that seems like it could be more simple, I am apt to use 'normal' words (lots of them if I have to!) rather than make up my own word for something. This, I think, can be problematic when world-building. If that animal or object is going to play a major part in the book, why not name it? I think I am afraid of coming up with things that sound Seuss'ish. 

What about you? Have you read any books that use made up words to good effect? What about books that were terrible this way?


  1. Thanks for the new word for such a universal and common 'thingy' which I never thought of as having a name other than the 'round road thingy' that does exactly as you described. So there ya go...you are now a dictionary writer, and have free reign and rights for word maker-meister. I am a 'Fearless Wordy Wonka Woman' and throw them left and right into my Su-tionary with abandonment and sometimes an astrick* to let readers know that Webster is probably flipping in his grave. Wow...I got veered of the road aways...thanks for the bumperglint !
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  2. Bumperglint...love it. I don't have any made up words that come to mind, although I am sure I have encountered some. For now, I settle on yours. It will bounce around my brain for the rest of today at least. Maybe wake me up when I go over one!

    Best regards,

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Being from the South, I grew up calling things that I couldn't come up with the actual name: Thingamygig, Whatchacallit, thingy, whosit, etc. As I get older, I just let someone else fill in the word, because I am having a "Senior Moment."

  5. This word seriously makes me just want to giggle! lol

    A to Z: deborahdera.com and writingforpeanuts.com

  6. This was a funny and interesting post. Bumperglint. :P I love it!

  7. The word balance comes to mind - made up words are good, if used correctly. There are some books that should never use made up words, while there are others that benefit from the tremendously. I like your bumper glint word. It makes perfect sense to me.

  8. I'd never heard "road turtles" before. Learn something every time I enter this challenge.

  9. Happy A to Z!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  10. Bumperglint is cool!
    Funny how words other people make up (or that you read in a book) are easily accepted, but the ones we make up ourselves are harder to have confidence in. My problem is making up names of things: like restaurants or schools or clubs. They always sound terrible to me! But of course I don't want to use real business names in my fiction... so I usually just make up something and then feel like it is dumb. :( Ah well, no one has complained yet, so maybe they're not that bad (or not that important) after all.
    And I am totally adopting "bumperglint" :)

  11. I love the word bumperglint; it definitely fits! I don't have enough confidence to purposely make up my own words, but I have been known to do so out of ignorance. LOL

  12. Anonymous10:53 AM

    I remember driving over my first bumperglint near Los Angeles on a road trip to California (from Michigan) with my collegemate. Even back in 1971, California was setting the trends for the rest of the country.

    Why do you think you are afraid to use made-up words? You said fear of sounding Seuss-ish, but wouldn't the context of your writing give appropriate weight to the word? Not trying to put you on the spot; just very interested and engaged when other writers (especially ones I admire, like you) admit to writing fears. Be Brave, AJ. If you aren't, what chance do us newbies have?!? :-)

  13. bumperglint sounds right to me. :-)



  14. Seriously???? That's what those things are called??? Believe it or not, I wondered. They're the BEST on snowy roads.

  15. I would love to get a copy of that dictionary on words that should be words...I am making up words all the time, although not on purpose. Bumperglint is a great word.

  16. Lol. I'm giggling right now, because I have a few words in my ms that feel made up. See I'm from Texas, and if y'all know how we speak, some of our lingo sounds made up. Mostly they're blended words. Like the word, Fixin'. "I'm fixin' to go to the store." Which means, I'm about to go to the store.

    Happy IWSG post day. :)

  17. Anonymous3:24 PM

    I'm sure in 500 years this will be a real word in some new version of English.

  18. The names of my characters, ships, planets - everything - are made up. There is a pattern to the words though. And I'd like to think they don't sound like Dr. Seuss.

  19. I write sci-fi. We have to make up stuff all the time. I like to think the words I've chosen aren't already coined by some other writer (transporter for example, not that they exist in my book, but a new word would seem appropriate if I had something like that...) and are a logical extension of our current vocabulary.
    Great topic!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

  20. Since I usually blog in the voice of my dog, I make up lots of words (and incorporate terms used by the anipal community). It's all in fun, comes in handy when we barktend at twitter pawpawties!

  21. I write for myself..to make myself happier .

    and if you could please change the font to a bigger size,it gets difficult to read

    1. That's a great reason!

      If you ever have trouble reading a website, you can hit CTRL and the plus sign and it will zoom in :)

  22. Hello from a fellow A to Z participant. I think your word bumperglint is perfect. Now I know what to call those things. Thanks

  23. Aw, gee. I was already thinking how I would casually comment on the bumperglints the next time the Husband and I went driving. LOL

    The View from the Top of the Ladder

  24. lol I love made up words. We don't have those here--the little raised bits. With snow plows and such they did away with them I guess.

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    herding cats & burning soup.

  25. Anonymous5:28 AM

    Funny you should mention making up words, just yesterday I accidentally made one up: blogisticated. As in someone who knows their way around blogging :)
    But I agree, in books (esp fantasy) it can go either way. Think about muggle - I think that's a lovely word that JKR created for us!
    Andrea, #atozchallenge Mighty Minion Asset

  26. What a great factoid! I'm fascinated to read your other posts...


  27. haha, my household makes up words and names for things ALL.THE.TIME. so we will adopt bumperglint into our vocab with ease. Sounds like it should already be a real word, anyway!

    As for making up words within writing, why not start "small"? Try making up an uncommon name for a character and see how that fits.

    I'm participating in AtoZ, as well. See you around!
    ~Andi-Roo @TheWorld4Realz /// TheWorld4Realz.com


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