Friday, October 22, 2010

Making Something From a Tintinnabulation?

Do you mean to tell me that tintinnabulation is a word, a real word? Yes it is. And I am so glad I found it in the dark recesses of my thesaurus. Here's what happened...

While shuffling through the many words that make a metallic ringing sound – the sound a stainless steel kitchen knife would make if it hit the ground, I found something very special. It started with words like ping, clang, ting, ring and ding. And then out of nowhere, this huge, double-edged word rushes me like a bull in heat and knocked me off my feet!

I saw stars. I felt dizzly. My eyes grew bigger than an alpine grizzly! And yes, God and all of his angels appeared before me holding this golden word, shining like the radiant beams of Sirius. It read…TINTINNABULATION (tin-tin-nab-u-la-tion). I shook my head and readjusted my focus. Was it true, I wondered? Is there really such a word? Could Webster actually create such an aberration? The answer was yes. But would it fit? Would it sound right? Is it too freakish to actually use in a work of fiction? These were my musings, but the angels bit their tongues. All I could do was try it out. I did. I looked. I peered. I bent closer to it and contemplated its appearance and locution. And wouldn’t you know it…it worked! (Well, at least I think so)

I even re-read an excerpt from Whispers by Dean Koontz to test the waters and found similarly striking words; not that I’m trying to imitate him; I just know he has a prodigious vocabulary. Anyway…here’s what I came up with and I hope you like it. I’ve added the previous paragraph to sort of put you in context. This is from a novel I’m currently working on. It’s tentatively titled Footprints, but I think that’s gonna change.

….He shook his head side-to-side and Anita’s head mirrored his motions, only with a greater intensity. The violent movements whipped her skull back and forth as if her deceased husband had risen from the grave to pound her flesh for another minor infraction. The rain washed over her, and she painfully cried out to Benji as her face showed signs of bruising and tearing.
Rick watched as she screamed, and noticed a stream of blood run out of her nose and across the top of her upper lip, diluted by the splashing water. Then without warning, the hand holding the knife twisted and broke upwards in a mangled deformation, severing her ligaments, ripping her flesh and crushing her metacarpals. Anita shrieked and the knife clanged with a tintinnabulation as it hit the ground….

Ahhh yeep, that’s it. That’s all I wanted to tell ya. But isn't tintinnabulation a good word? I think it's one of those words that actually sound like its meaning. Can't you hear the metal clang, ting, and ringing against the pavement when you read it? I can. And I was just so excited to share this incredible word that I stopped everything just to write this short blog entry. 

What about you? Do you have any fabulously favorite words? Let me know. BOOM!

1 comment:

  1. What a great exercise Jeff! I think I'm going to try to incorporate this into my writing habits. It's fun and stretches the brain a bit.


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