The Novelist encounters Microsoft

Last night, I finished my third attempt at NaNoWriMo, and brought home my second win. I found the writing pretty easy—about 1700 words a day which, on average, only took an hour or so of actual writing. I did suffer a lapse in will over Thanksgiving, but managed to pull 11,500 words out of my hat last Sunday which clinched the deal for me.

Tonight I brought my fresh, doughy novel into Word from the beta-software called Scrivener that I was testing and writing in (which was very pleasant). I wanted to run a more-industrial strength spell check on my work, so I set Word to humming through it.

Pretty soon, it stumbled across a problem. The sentence “They said they were going to form cabals and think tanks” choked the machine, and it recommended changing “think tanks” to “think-tanks”.


I don’t like Microsoft’s grammar rules all that much, but this seemed sensible so I okayed the change, and was presented with next screen, which was now recommending that I unhyphenate the words I just changed at their recommendation.


Hmmm. I think somebody might be a bit confused. I hit “change”, and it changed my work back to the original way, and then brought up the first screen again. It might have gone on forever, but I finally hit ignore and moved on.

Soon after I encountered this screen, which just made me laugh.


Posted by: Martin McClellan
On the date of: November 29, 2005 10:42 PM
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