The hard parts of writing, part three: Words are weird

I’m sure you’ve seen some of the fun things out there that talk about how difficult the English language can be. I actually enjoy looking at or talking about them:

-The masculine pronouns are he, his, and him. Why aren’t the feminine pronouns she, shis, and shim?

-One tooth or two teeth, shouldn’t more than one booth be called “beeth”?

-Two dice or one die, shouldn’t the singular of mice be “mie”?

-(My personal favorite.) One moose, two moose. One goose, two geese. One mongoose, two mongooses. *Scratching head* Um, okay.

Then we have all of the who/whom issues, and the lying/laying thing. There were several times while I was writing when I went with the sentiment of “Synonym: the word you use when you can’t remember how to spell the other one.” If I couldn’t figure out if my heroine was supposed to be “lying” on the floor or “laying” on the floor, I’d have her “stretch out” on the floor. Close enough. 😉

Once I was through dealing with all of that, I had one more issue I had to contend with: words would suddenly look wrong to me, even if they weren’t. Have any of you experienced this?

For example: years ago, I held a job that had a plethora of daily tasks. One of these tasks was opening the mail and stamping it “received” with the date that we got it. After opening hundreds, possibly thousands, of pieces of paper in a single day, my brain wouldn’t process “received” anymore. I’d stamp a paper, look at it, and go, “That can’t possibly be the way that’s spelled.” I also had it happen with the words “file,” “copy,” and “paid.” I’d sort through the papers to make sure they were all stamped, and I’d find myself saying the word in my head. “File, file, file, file, file, file, file, filly, filly, filly, filet, filet. Wait, what?” (Someone please tell me I’m not the only person this happens to!)

I had the same type of thing happen when I was writing my books. After typing “Kenzie” a few dozen times, my brain didn’t like the way it was spelled anymore. “Noran” was even worse, since the computer refused to recognize his name as a word. I pushed through it, though. More than 200,000 words later, I don’t care anymore. If it doesn’t look right to me, that’s okay. If it’s actually wrong, I’m sure that my little group of editors will be only too happy to point it out to me. 😉

Happy Monday, my friends! Have a marvelous week!

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