I can’t play Words with Friends for shit. Everyone assumes I can (in fact, most of my friends won’t even play me), because I can write, but I’m telling you, this skill is of absolutely no use on a Scrabble board. Also on my total fail list: Boggle. I used to have to play with my (then-future) mother-in-law when Charlie and I first started dating as young, parent-pleasing kids, and the way I played that god-awful game, she must have thought her son had found the dumbest girl on the face of the earth. The irony wasn’t lost on me, even then: I could have described said face of the earth in 500 words in a string of metaphor pretty enough to make her weep, but ask me to find just one that’s five letters long and starts with a P and falls on the double word score, and I was toast.
Also: terrible speller. Plus, I mispronounce things all the time, or insert the entire wrong word into whatever I’m writing. I do it all the time. It’s all fixable. I read and write enough that I always see the error (but often have to look up the fix).
The thing with creative writing is, you need that entire word bank of the English language (and all those additional mutilated words that aren’t English but exist in your head where you think maybe they are, you’ll check later, and all those words that are in other languages that just might work, too). You need to be able to pluck them out of thin air and arrange them on your blank page, and even if you have your nagging doubt that ‘irroneous’ is a word, you have to use it anyway, just to place-hold, because it’s the feel of it that’s right…the ‘irr’ at the start is the flavor of sound you’re looking for, it slows the reader’s voice in his or her head for just the right amount of time as the tongue wraps around it before popping on the next word, conveying just the emotion your character is experiencing, and so who cares if ‘irroneous’ is underlined in red? Microsoft Word doesn’t know what needs to pop. You do. The real word, the one that’s actually a word that you can use without ridicule, will hit you on the second read through, and that’s probably when you’ll realize it was all wrong anyway. But the real work has been done: you know the size and feel and texture of the word you’re seeking (because you didn’t limit yourself to a certain number of characters or even whether a word is a word at all).
Words with Friends doesn’t seem to understand this, no matter how many times ‘irroneous’ would have fit perfectly into a triple word score.
Written for Day 2 of Five for Five.