Tag Archives: Scrabble

Scrabbling for new words

True story:

My daughter has a biscuit.
I say ‘Can I have a bit?’
‘No Daddy.’
‘Can I have a lick then?’
‘NO Daddy.’
‘Can I have a sniff?’
‘Okay Daddy’. I get a sniff! ….
‘Can I have a bit, go on,’ says Daddy.
‘No Daddy – you’ve already had a sniff.’ So I get a scone and she nicks half!

Maybe my two year old daughter should be a banker when she grows up?

At the moment she is creating her own take on the English language:
‘hicsups’ – hiccups
‘seaweewee’ – seaweed
‘weeweebixs’ – weetabix
‘some goldilocks’ – bowl of porridge
‘swim soup’ – swim suit
‘fishing rock’ – fishing rod
‘glubs’ – gloves

I have been busy writing the first book of a funny series for young readers and inventing humorous words – but it’s obvious that the master is still Roald Dahl (with my daughter hot on his heels).

After all, who can beat snozzcumber, fizzwiggler, whoopsey-splunkers, bugswallop, jabbeling, frobscottle and whizzpoppers? His last book was published more than 20 years ago but this writer is still sparklingly relevant. Simple narratives are entwined with rounded characters that are brought to life in just a few sentences and actions. Few come close to matching Roald Dahl. The nearest I (Alan Dapré) get to him is on a library shelf filed under D!

But we should all keep trying and carving our own paths. As writers we will face supportive editors and publishers but there are some horrors out there who say one thing but then do another. The key is to keep an inner enthusiasm alive so that when knock backs come they are treated with a calm response and a belief that one’s own style and talent will win through. After all, bankers deal with other people’s money and editors deal with other people’s words – it is always easier to work on something that comes from another person’s brain than think it up from scratch.

Which is why I so admire my two year old’s freshness with language and untarnished confidence. For it is that energy that brings out new creative ideas … and words.

The word I’d like to bring into the world is QUIJ and it means ‘to try it on in Scrabble’ – this word was once invented during a game of Scrabble and it sounded so good and so real that it needed a definition and its own life … so there it is QUIJ – unleashed onto an unsuspecting public … and worth loads of points!

Ok – I’ve just read that the word QUIJ is in the Urban Dictionary dated 2007 and the definition is rather unsavoury but we were using that word back in 1990 and so Alan Dapré and a certain Joan Mills are staking prior claim to it!!!