April 08, 2023

G - To Be a Writer, You Don't Need...To Be a Good Speller + BONUS


Do you fear you’re not a great writer or will never be one because you’re not a good speller or don’t know extravagant words? Never fear! You don’t need to have won the spelling bee every year in grade school to have the chops it takes to write a good story. Just because you may be a poor speller doesn’t mean you can’t be a writer. That’s what spellcheck, Google, beta readers/critique partners, editors, and proofreaders are for. Nor do you need to have an arsenal full of words five or more syllables long to pepper throughout your story.

Nowadays, the simpler stories are told the better. When readers come across a word they don’t know it can throw them out of the story, as if they’re coming to a screeching halt at a stop sign. Some may skip it, never knowing what that word means and not caring. Other readers may feel inclined to look it up, taking away time they could be reading your book and drawing them further away from your story.

Books written with humongous words may cause readers without that level of vocabulary strength to shy away from them. Whereas books written with more simplicity will appeal to all kinds of readers (depending on the genre, of course). A story written with simplicity doesn’t mean it can’t have well-developed characters, a complex storyline, and a twisting plot. Rather, the writer uses words that are more commonly known to do all of that.

Speaking of genres, fantasy and science-fiction can get away with enormous words with countless syllables, but what if you want to write these genres and don’t know those kinds of words? Then you don’t have to use them.

No matter where you fall on the vocabulary spectrum, I have one thing to say: Do what you want.

I’m not that great at spelling, and I pronounce many words wrong. It took me ages to spell “definitely” correctly (back in the day) and to pronounce “salmon” without the “L.”

All the way to my teen years, I pronounced “magazine” as “mazagine.” For some reason, I thought the “G” and “Z” were switched, and I swore I said it correctly. I also pronounced “headache” as “head-ick.” I mean, headaches make us feel icky, don’t they? Made sense to me! To this day, I pronounce “necklace” as “neckalace.” Fortunately, I think I say it fast enough that people don’t notice.

In high school, I was also awful at vocabulary. Yes, the girl who wrote in class and even on the bus sucked at vocab. What can I say? It wasn’t my strong suit. To this day I don’t use big words in my writing. That doesn’t make my writing weak, though. That’s my style. It’s okay if you load your writing with big words, because that’s your style. And it’s okay if you only use words you know and are comfortable with, too.

I’ll say it again…all writers are different.

Whenever I write on my computer, I have Thesaurus.com open in a tab. I write many action scenes that require the use of verbs with the same meanings, but I don’t want to use “ran” or “jumped” over and over again. So, I use Thesaurus.com to remind myself of other options, especially if I’ve already used the one or two synonyms I could recall off the top of my head.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a thesaurus.

When I edit for clients, I point out verbs that they repeat on a single page or several times in one chapter. I highlight the word and then insert a comment for them to consider an alternative. Changing up these overused words helps us to keep our writing from being stale and repetitive. Of course, you shouldn’t use words you found in a thesaurus that you don’t know and wouldn’t normally use.

Stephen King tells us any words we have to find in a thesaurus are the wrong words.

Well...I don’t believe that. While writing, even my first draft, I am aware of when I am reusing the same verbs in action scenes, and it drives me nuts. I could let it slide until the revisions, but I’d still need that thesaurus or a thesaurus website to give me a hand, because I may not be able to recall “pivot” as a good replacement for “turn.” To me, using “turned” three or more times on one page is two times too many and the thesaurus can help me find alternatives.

I own an old paperback thesaurus, too, (that’s so old it doesn’t have a cover) with odd words in it that aren’t even in use anymore.

Stephen King has also said to toss your thesaurus into the trash. But I won’t throw mine out. That thesaurus helped me to come up with my pen name (Fey) and to name an island in a work-in-progress with one of those words not commonly used anymore.

I love my thesaurus! And I believe you should love yours, too.



G - The Galaxy's Tease

The Galaxy's Tease is a strip club in Cocky Killer and the location of one crime scene.
Excerpt from Cocky Killer:

Avrianna's cell phone chimed. She answered it on the first ring. “This is Avrianna.”

“Hey, a call came in,” Chuck, her partner, said on the other end. “Dead body found in the alley next to The Galaxy’s Tease.”

Avrianna arched a brow. “Isn’t that a strip club?”

“It is, indeed.”

She groaned. “Great.”

“Not a fan of strip clubs?”

She scowled. “You do know whom you’re talking to, right?”


You can read Universal Killer, Cocky Killer, and all future Avrianna Heavenborn novellas on Patreon for just $5.00 a month. You get access to special perks, too, and you pay-it-forward to a good cause because 10% of all earnings go to StandUp for Kids, a charity that helps homeless American youth.


  1. Some interesting thoughts here! I confess to being a good speller, but most people aren’t. I once had a student in my Year 9 English class who was very bright, but couldn’t spell to save his life. And that was in the days when there was no such thing as Spellcheck and such. I imagine he was over the moon when that sort of thing came in. Nothing wrong with not being a good speller, IMO, as long as you make sure that everything is correct before submitting to a publisher. I say this as a slush reader…

    1. Yes, having Spellcheck and a good editor is important before submitting/publishing.

  2. I am grateful everyday for spell check. Sometimes with writing I find that even if I spell the word correctly it just looks wrong. The spell check reassures me.
    And you're right. You don't have to be the best speller or have an extensive vocabulary to be a writer.

    1. Sometimes, I have to use Google because even Word had no idea what word I'm trying to spell. LOL

  3. We all have our strengths. We all have our weaknesses. Have you heard of freerice.com? It's a vocabulary game where the more words you get correct, the harder it gets.

    1. I have not heard of freerice.com. It sounds like a horrible game for me. HAHA

  4. My step daughter learned to read and spell via phonetics. Thank you 1970s and 80s in spite of her being unable to spell her way out of a bag, she became an editor for Scholastic for 15 years and now routinely publishes children's reference works. Automation does wonders. I'm not so sure about AI text creation, but spell check and auto-crit are wonderful!

  5. I spell okay, but I try to have my husband read my posts before I publish them because sometimes I don't see mistakes even when I read it over. I might write 1945 when I mean 1845 or leave out words or add words. He can see these.


    1. It’s always helpful to have someone available who can look over your spelling.

  6. I hate it when I read a book where it's clear the author used a thesaurus to make themselves sound smart, but lost the meaning of what they wanted to say in the process. Stephen King said: use the first word that comes to mind, it's usually the right one. Great post!

    Ronel visiting for G:
    My Languishing TBR: G
    Giants of All Kinds