Potentially Useful Tip #1 – Custom Dictionaries

Note: This is geared for MS Word, but there might be similar tools in other word processors

For those of you who don’t know, I write a lot of SciFi, some fantasy, and a little general fiction.  In SciFi especially, there are a lot of weird names (just to name a few, I have a place in one story called the Falls of Aqwu-la, a species in a novel called Chimree, and a family in another novel called Drayr).  I’ve been having problems keeping the spellings of my characters and places straight.  The spell check never catches anything because it marks the proper names all the time.  I don’t like using Ignore All, because by chapter 20 I might not remember if the name had come up with a different spelling before or not.  I also don’t like adding words to my main dictionary because then the names are there for everything.

I don’t know how many of you use Word or already know how to do this, but I just learned how to create custom dictionaries for Word.  This is different from just using Ignore All or adding words to your standard dictionary.  I can create a different dictionary for each story, and then just select the proper dictionary when I start writing and/or editing, or deselect them all when working on something different.

I am in the process of creating a dictionary each for my different series: Chimree Republic, Passages of Consequence, Plague World, Armies of Atheious, etc.  I have already found this to be a wonderful tool, and I hope you will too.  For information on how to accomplish this, check out the following sites:

About R. Garrett Wilson

I am a member of the Stanislaus World Builders writing group and have participated in the FSFW writing group. I have written one drama that was based on the book of Mark and performed at my church in 2007. My story, Journeyer, is published in Analog Magazine and a novelette, The Bakrra Encounter, in the FSFW 2010 anthology, I Dreamed a Crooked Dream. I also took part in the community novel project, Stanislaus Reads and Writes, and have a chapter in their novel, Ashes in a Teardrop. Beyond writing, I enjoy road trips, photography, woodworking, watching tennis and cycling, and reading.
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One Response to Potentially Useful Tip #1 – Custom Dictionaries

  1. What a cool thing! I didn’t know you could do this. I haven’t written much fantasy, but I have made up place names, or this would even be good for regular old name spellings. Thanks for the info and links!

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