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Can You Work These Words Into Your NaNoWriMo Novel?

Updated on August 24, 2017Writing Tips
Words for Your NaNoWriMo Novel

Do you like a challenge? Writing a novel is not easy, but sometimes brilliant things can come from testing yourself. English is full of words. Some are difficult to spell, others difficult to pronounce, and still others are just bizarre. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Writers everywhere attempt to complete a 50,000-word novel by November 30. Your challenge is to use some of these words in your NaNoWriMo novel. Are you up to the task?


Though it sounds like making someone dumb, adumbrate actually means to outline something. For example, in a company meeting you might adumbrate plans to build a new building or the main details of a project. It can also mean to foreshadow. Might one of your characters do something to adumbrate their death?


Cruciverbalist comes from the Latin words for cross and word. Don’t worry, it’s not someone who will crucify you with speech. A cruciverbalist makes crossword puzzles or really enjoys doing them.


How detailed are you when it comes to describing how your characters look? If you write about your main character’s dactylion, the top of her middle finger, your readers will feel like they know her from head to toe.


Floccinaucinihilipilification is the estimation of something as worthless. Can you make this twenty-nine letter word something worthwhile by using it in your prose?


Inchoate means rudimentary, lacking order, or just started. If you get writer’s block in the first pages of your novel, find a way to incorporate this word and perhaps your creative juices will get flowing again.


Macadam is broken stone which is used to make a road that is sometimes held together with tar or asphalt. Doesn’t that sound like a metaphor in the making?


An ocarina is a simple wind instrument that looks somewhat like a stretched-out egg with a mouthpiece and finger holes. Which of your characters should play it and why?


Slacktivism is a word you need if you like to be on the cutting edge. Recently added to some dictionaries, this term refers to supporting a political or social cause online in a way that requires minimal time or effort, such as liking a Facebook page or subscribing to a newsletter.


Smellfungus refers to a person who always sees the negative side of things. They complain and find fault with everything and everyone. This word derives from a fictional character from A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne.


Surreptitiously means secretly, without the notice of others, clandestine. If you can sneak in the words of this list in a way that sounds natural, you can truly say you have mastered the art of stealth.


Xerus is the name of an African ground squirrel. It is adorable with its tiny ears, long tail, and tendency to stand upright. Squirrels are hot right now, especially since Scrat from film Ice Age demonstrated how funny it is to watch a squirrel find a nut. Xerus are native to Africa in the real world, but what hilarity will ensue if they are found where your book takes place?

These rare, new, long, or hard-to-pronounce words aren’t easy to use, but using them will set your writing apart. Will you meet the challenge to use one or more of the words from this list in your NaNoWriMo novel? Don’t forget to comment with your screenshots. Everyone wants to see how you do!

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