Spellcheck Hell or Highwater

My critique partner and I are working on new novels with the usual thrills and chills! Yesterday I received her gentle rant concerning a problem fraying the nerves of writers world wide. Spellcheck.  Here, in part, are her comments:

“I’m literally a walking dictionary. Words that I’m familiar with, or their derivatives, don’t even show up on Spellcheck or are marked as wrong.”

Spellcheck in Word is different in Scrivener in iPage ad infinitum.  Some spellchecks are US English, others British English – on and on. So, you may have to spellcheck in several softwares or just go with your gut.thinking-in-mirror-image

“Thank goodness for my 1978 dog-eared paperback Roget’s Thesaurus, yellowed-pages held together by an old rubber band. It is still the best writing resource I own.”

While pondering this spellcheck mess, I stumbled on a fantastic thesaurus lurking on Scrivener.


Go to thesaurus. com and check it out. Not only does it have more synonyms that the Word thesaurus, but it has sorting options that I’ve never seen before except on clothing and shoe buying sites.

“I would much rather NOT have spellcheck’s screaming red lines pull me away from my initial intent and focus.”

Turn it off. Word, iPage or whatever you are using should have a toggle to toast the offending red lines.
How do you feel about spellcheck? Is it an invasive, dull-witted pain in the butt or the saving grace for your writing?

9 thoughts on “Spellcheck Hell or Highwater”

  1. I’m a regular over at thesaurus. com, especially in revision, but when I really need a beautiful word I pull out Roget’s. The only problem with that is I can get lost searching for a word because there are so many good ones. I end up losing my place in the writing!
    I’m a pretty good speller, so I usually just turn spell check off until the final, final pass. Then I’m always surprised by what I’ve missed. But those squiggly red lines are so irritating when I’m trying to think!

  2. I find spell checker in Word hit and miss. I have used thesaurus.com too and like it. I believe I have more typos than spelling mistakes but I can say anything, can’t I? Doesn’t mean it’s 100% true. 🙂

  3. When Ken and Meg were little they used to write stories using Word. When they got the squiggly underline, they would keep editing until the squiggle went away. So the stories were pretty amusing and I printed them and stored them for someday when they appreciate those things.

  4. So the morale (sp?) is: If you’d like to write a funny book, keep editing until the squiggle goes away!

    1. Maybe Ken and Meg had the right idea!

      I do that adding and subtracting letters thing all the time until I hit the correct spelling. If I take the time to look the correct spelling up, my characters will have forged on ahead without me.

  5. Thesaurus.com is where I go when stuck for that elusive word as well, when those red lines come up and insist everything is hyphenated and the word ‘movie’ is not recognised, it makes me want to weep. I do like to keep a dictionary and thesaurus combo with me when I can though, because I am old skool like that!

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