June 29, 2022

Words of the Month - Wordle Lit

         Wordle mania is sweeping the world, and I am absolutely on board with this bandwagon.  I’ve always loved Master Mind, and I’ve always loved words, so yeah, Wordle seems pretty perfect for me.  (And see a post about one of my other favorite word games: Babble.)  I also enjoy a number of the Wordle spin-offs: Dordle, Quordle, Hurdle, Octordle…  And in this spirit I have just invented a new literary form: Wordle Lit.  (Or, to carry on the punnish trend of the other names: Wordlit.)  This is stories or poems expressed in exactly six 5-letter words.  I had some fun amusing myself fooling around with the idea, and I share with you today a few of my attempts.
        I’ll be honest (as I always try to be): super short, constrained stories and poems are not my natural taste.  (See a prior post about haiku for my flippant contribution to that too-short genre.)  I’ve been trying to write flash fiction recently as a challenge to myself, and have managed only two stories so far that come in under 1,000 words, and another four or so under 1,500.  I’m naturally a lot wordier and more expansive than that.  So no, I don’t really anticipate that my new-fangled Wordle Lit will actually contribute anything truly great to the 
world’s literature.  Still, it’s an entertaining challenge.  How do you work within the English language’s grammar, which demands -s in some places and -ed in others, messing up the letter counts of words?  Then there’s the exclusion of the whole slew of vital “little words,” including a, the, and, but, he, she, they, and all manner of other bits and bobs necessary for the grammatical functioning of most sentences.  How many messages can you even express with so much constraint?   On the other hand, everyone loves to praise “spare” prose and to hate on adverbs (see a prior post in which I push back), and here we’re in a format that makes the adverb options so slim as to be almost impossible anyway.
        Consider this distillation of a classic: SIREN SINGS WHILE LURED SHIPS CRASH.  It sounds more like a newspaper headline than poetry - an effect of having to leave out those little words.  It also might make more sense as Sirens sing instead of Siren sings - but I’ve had to compromise to follow the English language’s requirement that letters be added for various grammatical functions.
        I’ve decreed that contractions are unacceptable, but what about possessives?  If a word is properly spelled with an apostrophe, is that automatically unacceptable?  I have ordained that I will allow proper nouns, even though Wordle doesn’t use them.  After all, stories are very often about people and other proper nouns.    The more I think about Wordle, and even more about Wordle Lit, suddenly I become hyper aware of words like hyper and aware and words that just happen to be five letters long.  Could they be the basis of a story?
        If you choose to write your own Wordle Lit, no, you don’t need to do the color coding, which I artificially added afterwards, just to make it look more in the spirit of the thing.  So, are you a pithy, clever writer who can come up with something truly marvelous in my new form?  Please share!


[Pictures: Wordle Lits by AEGN, 2022.]


5 comments:

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

I was super impressed by your Wordle and Wordlit skills - until I saw you added the colours afterward! But still with this 'cheating' this looks super-fun. I would love if there was a way to do this for real - but that would require knowing what today's word was, hence spoiling that fun.

PS. I do Wordle too and love it, and Wørdle - the Danish variant. Babble not so much, as there's too many absurd words. SpellingBee is good as well, even if I often know an English word not in the accepted list, that's fun. But sad that you have to pay to play.

I think you would love Elfjes too. Link here: Elfje I'm always a bit surprised when I go there that the blog still exists.
And I don't know what happened to that link. Now it should work as intended.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Yeah, if you knew the Wordle word of the day ahead of time you could actually write them as your guesses! But I just made these up from scratch. I'll definitely go check out Elfjes, thanks!

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

What's that font? I'm trying to make soem Worlits myself ;)

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

You CAN know the wordle if you use two browsers. I'll post my try at midnigth my time (Paris time).