Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Spell Checker

Here I am, writing another blog…what a word. Have you noticed that it is gets underlined in red every time you type it on your computer? Or, maybe my computer is just old and my stored dictionary is behind the times. Anyway when I type blog, I get suggestions to spell it as bog, bloc, blob, blot, blow. Of course, I can’t use any of these so blog it is. (I just took the time to add it to my dictionary because it looks as if it is going to become a part of my writing life from now on.) But, as the clichĂ© goes, I digress.

I wanted to write about how helpful the sell checker is to me in my writing. You may be an A #1 speller and have won that dreaded class room spelling bee (or is it B?), but not me. I remember well when I was in third grade we often had to stand in two lines – one on each side of the classroom – and the teacher would call out the weekly list of spelling words. If a word was missed, the student sat down. The last one standing got some reward such as getting to be first in line for lunch. Believe it or not, one time I came close to being the winner. (I stress one time because it happened only once.) Kay, the smartest girl in class and I were left standing this particular Friday. We had been through the words several times and I was sure I could spell any of them that day. Miss Coles called out a word to Kay, I don’t remember what the word was, but Kay spelled it correctly. Then she said if I spelled my word correctly she was going to declare this contest a draw. I was excited. I knew that for the first time I would be a winner. Miss Coles turned to me and said, “Lynette, your word is City.” I knew it and deep down in my heart I knew that I knew it. Confidently, I spelled “S-i-t-y.” Now I’m digressing again.

Back to the spell checker. Most of us have seen the little poem that floats about the internet which ends with a line such as: you no what I right is write, cause my checker tolled me sew. It is true that if you spell a word correctly but have used the wrong word, the checker won’t pick it up. This happens to me, but I still wouldn’t take my checker away for anything. Having a touch of dyslexia, I often transpose letters in my words. My checker will catch them most every time. I also use it to spell a word when I just can’t come up with the right combination. It will often give me the correct word in its line of suggestions if I simply spell at the word. (It just did it for me with the word dyslexia.) I spelled it something like: dyslesica and it furnished me the right word.

Another way it helps me with my writing is with the names of my characters. In my yet unpublished book, MURDER IN SOUTH CAROLINA, I have a character named Bett. My computer didn’t want the name spelled that way and would underline it every time. To over come this, I added the name to the dictionary because Bett is one of the main characters and I knew I would be typing it a lot. In another novel waiting for a home, SETSON MOLD I have a character with the last name of Layhee. My computer doesn’t like this name either, but I didn’t add it to my dictionary. Though Mr. Layhee plays a vital role in the story, his last name only appears a few times.

My spell checker is just one of the many tools I use while writing. I would drive editors mad without it. They still chuckle at my spelling sometimes, but at least they have accepted my quirks. Maybe they just no my righting is great, no matter how it’s spelled. I like to think sew anyway.

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