As I began to make entries for individual words, I strove to find words that not just anyone would use, eliminating the Ten Thousand most common, and unique author-created names (although the specific words will change by author, authors have the privilege of creating names for their worlds), and fantasy-genre names, guessing that within the genre, those words would be like the Ten Thousand, and anyone could use them.
But what makes a fantasy word?
Lively dinner-table conversation ensued. Did Tolkien used a word because it’s a fantasy word or is it a fantasy word because Tolkien used it? I have a mattock in the shed, so that’s a humble word, but I classed arrows as fantasy – yet my daughter learns archery at summer camp. The classification removed perhaps 80 words from a field of over 900. Just a drop in the bucket.
I am no longer holding out words – like “elf” or “arrow” – which are uncommon but seem common to fantasy novel fans.
Note on June 3, 2015: If you read the blog chronologically, I have already mentioned that I held fantasy words aside, then abandoned the practice. This post dated May 29th is the day on which I made the decision. As of today June 3d, I edited for retroactive continuity so that new Word Fans would not be confused by changing methods.