Chompy – The Process

Chompy is story number twenty-five in the #52ShortStories challenge.

**SPOILERS BELOW. If you have not read the story and want to be (hopefully) surprised, come back to this when you’re done.**

I spent a day or so gathering intentions to write something serious and I wound up penning a horror tale about a pixelated, homicidal grammarian.

I’ve had another story rumbling around in my mind and it took two little incidents to cast it aside for this lighter fare:

First, I was editing some promotional material for my wife’s documentary, The Last Doll Lady, using Microsoft Word 2016. It’s the first time I’d used the program and was bombarded with suggestions to get rid of the word lady and use the word woman or, in case that’s too on-the-nose, person.


Then the following evening, I happened to be reading an issue of Reason magazine and came across a piece that lambasted this very overbearing member of the AI word-police.

Can you imagine how limp a piece of fiction would be without gender-specific words?

As the kids text these days (Do you mean young persons, proto-adults, or lightly-aged humanoids?), SMH

Okay, the Muse ensured I was fired up enough to work on Chompy and with a single mention of Clippy in that article, I had my antagonist!

I thought you might also appreciate the fact that as my first reader, my wife uses whatever is available to mark up my work. Being a mom of a three-year-old, crayons are never too far away. Not sure I’d think this was cute if I’d gotten it back from a paid professional, but in this case, I thought it was great. The way the story was written toward the end also provided a mischievous opportunity to really throw her off:

To wrap up, here’s an unintentional gem from Wednesday’s journal:

Just trying to get words down, not be to critical.

Did you spot it? 🙂

Here’s the general scratch file:

And the daily journal entries:


2 thoughts on “Chompy – The Process

  1. I had no idea Microsoft looked for gender-specific words. I’ve never noticed that. I think I’ll leave that option turned off for now. I don’t need any more red marks telling me all the things I’m doing wrong in my writing. ? That being said, I’m all for inclusive language, but sounds like this feature takes things too far. Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Yeaaaaah, I think those words can stay.

    1. Yes, I have learned to disable the spelling /grammar checker in Google docs. Looks like I need to do the same for Word. ? Agreed on the not getting stuck in a gender-centric frame of mind. But I prefer to let my readers tell that!

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