When my son was quite young, we had to take him for a neurological evaluation. The intern who was asked to help with the testing reported that he thought something was very wrong.
Already alarmed about the whole situation, we asked what he meant. As an example he said that our son’s response to one of the questions was bizarre. When asked, “What is the opposite of dog?” he told the intern there was no such thing. The intern said that most children will answer that question by saying cat.
We were perplexed and not a little bit surprised that there was an answer to that question, but waited until the neurologist finished reading the report before asking how bad it was that our son did not have an answer for the opposite of dog. The doctor put our minds to rest when he said he agreed with our child that it was a silly question.
Aside from in the above situation, silly doesn’t bother me. I live in a house where playing with words is a common occurrence and witticisms run rampant. Double entendres and puns are the order of the day. Once started, the ridiculousness can go on for several long minutes until tears are running down our faces. I’m often left behind, rolling my eyes, pondering how to catch up with my clever family. So it’s no wonder that odd things occur to me.
The latest is this one and it hearkens back to the day of that intern: Is the opposite of writing wronging? I know that the spelling of write doesn’t lend itself to being the opposite of wrong, but sometimes when I write it does come out very wrong. I can go on for pages in the totally wrong direction, down roads best left unplowed (sorry, there’s been so much snow here lately that all I can see is a brilliant white, like the blank pages that taunt me when I’m having trouble figuring out what to write next) and develop minor characters that do not even need to be in a story. The character I have the most trouble with, invariably, is my heroine, who is often a muddled mess of inconsistency and contradictions throughout the first draft.
My writing group is very good at sending out the scouts to find and encourage removal of erroneous material, but they can’t help me clarify my character’s motivation. The best they can do is wonder where it is, which of course sends me back to the computer to correct the wrongs I’ve committed and hopefully get the writing right.