Many things drive me crazy. Here’s one of them: people with an “ewwww!” attitude about Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia – so much, in fact, that I contribute to every fundraiser.
“But you can’t cite it!” Of course not. You don’t cite dictionaries either. But does that ever stop anyone from checking a dictionary?
Five minutes ago I went to Wikipedia to look up Edmund Spenser’s 16th-century epic poem The Faerie Queen. I wanted to read about Britomart, the namesake for a character in Shaw’s play Major Barbara.
I quickly found out that Spenser’s Britomart was a lady knight. Thank you, Wikipedia!
I went back to Google Docs, where I’m writing a book about Major Barbara. I started typing: Britomart, Faerie Queen, lady knight.
And then something magical happened. (I am still freaking over this.)
Here’s the paragraph I was working on:
Shaw was a masterful giver of names (a skill he probably began to develop when he devoured the novels of Dickens in his youth). “Undershaft” hints at underworld and underhanded, “Barbara” evokes a warrior-saint, and “Britomart” is the lady knight in Edmund Spenser’s epic poem The Faerie Queen.
Google Docs noticed that I’d mistyped The Faerie Queen – and fixed it. It needs another “e”: The Faerie Queene.
Google Docs keeps an eye out for 16th-century literature just in case some poor schlep (me) didn’t notice that Spenser spells it Queene. It doesn’t want me to suffer the embarrassment of having an editor find that mistake when I submit my book to a publisher next year.
Can I send Google Docs money? Flowers? Something?
Microsoft Word (the word processor I’ve used forever) never catches these things.
Take my word for it: this is a good time to be a writer.