Words That Aren’t

I’m going to take advantage of the fact that I can say whatever I want about writing here and go on a little rant with a purpose.

I hate words that aren’t really words. I have two specific ones in mind that will explain everything.

“Anthill” and “bloodred.”

Let me tell you something: No matter what you say or do, there is absolutely nothing on this planet that can convince me those are words that should ever be used in writing. Ever.

“Ant hill.” “Blood-red.” Nothing else will fly with me but these spellings. I can fairly well deal with “ant-hill” or “blood red.” But anything else is completely unacceptable to me.

The first spellings I provided will not be re-typed, because I hate them, but they just can’t be pronounced the way they’re intended in my head. “An-thill” and “bluh-dred” are how I pronounce them upon reading and have to take a minute to try and figure out what’s going on. “Ant hill” without the space sounds like a type of metal to me. And “blood-red” without the hyphen sounds like some kind of thing relating to morbidity or something. It’s a little vaguer.

But what I’m getting at is clarity. If someone has to take a moment to figure out what in the world you’re talking about because you want to save space and smush words together, then you’re not being clear. It takes me out of the story. Because I have to stop and try to understand what you mean. You don’t have to reveal everything in your stories, but being clear about what you do want the readers to know is of the utmost importance. It is also important to make sure they don’t think about how they’re reading a book. You want them to feel a part of your world. But removing spaces between two separate words is totally unacceptable, because not everyone will know what you mean.

Unless it is in the dictionary and completely and totally established within society, stick with the spelling that provides the most clarity. One case where you have to kind of go with the times is the transition from “E-mail” to “email.” It’s still apparent what it means, but I honestly hate the lack of dash and still continue to use “e-mail” so the meaning is clearer. And because I’m a creature of habit. Having the capital “E” now seems very dated, because it was only done that way for a while after it was introduced. There’s not been an established thing saying that the two spellings I introduced at the beginning are accepted by society. And even if there was, I would hate it.

In short, stop cutting spaces out between two perfectly good words. They don’t need your help. They are presented the way they are for a reason. It makes sense as is and doesn’t need someone to say that they should be smushed into one word. Most words need a space between them. They are separate and should be presented separately. The normal spellings are not shameful. There is nothing wrong with them. Just chill out and leave the spaces in. There’s nothing you need to rush for so much that “ant hill” can’t have a space in it. Slow down. Enjoy the ride.

And if you’re trying to fit into a limited word count, you can probably do with cutting something else. Smushing words into each other is just sad. And it makes me sad. So don’t do it.

Paste

Open up a blank document and paste whatever you have copied right now.

If it’s text (whether on a picture or not), use it in a story. Try to make it the first line.

If it’s a picture of a person, write about that person’s emotion/expression (More than one person? Pick one. Feel free to use the others as side characters).

If it’s an object, write about its owner and their relationship with the object (memories, etc.).

If it’s an animal, write about how it relates to its surroundings and what its life has been like.

If I haven’t listed something in a picture you may have copied, then figure something out along the lines of what I’ve listed above.

Paste

Open up a blank document and paste whatever you have copied right now.

If it’s text (whether on a picture or not), use it in a story. Try to make it the first line.

If it’s a picture of a person, write about that person’s emotion/expression (More than one person? Pick one. Feel free to use the others as side characters).

If it’s an object, write about its owner and their relationship with the object (memories, etc.).

If it’s an animal, write about how it relates to its surroundings and what its life has been like.

If I haven’t listed something in a picture you may have copied, then figure something out along the lines of what I’ve listed above.

Gender

Write a story where a person fulfills stereotypical gender roles and is completely happy with where they are in life. Nonconforming gender-related activities do not appeal to this person. But everyone tries to convince them that they should try them out. Let them stand strong against people who tell them to do something that doesn’t make them happy.

Gender

Write a story where a person fulfills stereotypical gender roles and is completely happy with where they are in life. Nonconforming gender-related activities do not appeal to this person. But everyone tries to convince them that they should try them out. Let them stand strong against people who tell them to do something that doesn’t make them happy.

Times

Night owl? Write a story about a morning person.

Morning person? Step into the head of a night owl.

Afternoon your time of day? If you like early afternoon, write about late night. If you like the time closer to evening (sunset), write about early morning (dawn).

Step out of yourself and try to sincerely imagine what it is like to be someone else who lives differently from you.

If you think that morning people are all obnoxious and too happy, try to figure out why you think that way and what it feels like to them. If you think late-nighters are just slobs who like to avoid work, do the same thing.

Open your mind to other people’s lifestyles and figure out why it works for them. That doesn’t mean you have to approve of it or appreciate it. Just understand it. If it’s not your thing, then that’s okay. But try to figure out why that is. Try to understand yourself and the rest of the world with this exercise. If you get stuck, ask someone you know who is on a different sleep schedule from you.

Times

Night owl? Write a story about a morning person.

Morning person? Step into the head of a night owl.

Afternoon your time of day? If you like early afternoon, write about late night. If you like the time closer to evening (sunset), write about early morning (dawn).

Step out of yourself and try to sincerely imagine what it is like to be someone else who lives differently from you.

If you think that morning people are all obnoxious and too happy, try to figure out why you think that way and what it feels like to them. If you think late-nighters are just slobs who like to avoid work, do the same thing.

Open your mind to other people’s lifestyles and figure out why it works for them. That doesn’t mean you have to approve of it or appreciate it. Just understand it. If it’s not your thing, then that’s okay. But try to figure out why that is. Try to understand yourself and the rest of the world with this exercise. If you get stuck, ask someone you know who is on a different sleep schedule from you.

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