When You Have Words with Friends

You learn something new every day.

Words I have written on my novel so far: 17,287

Words with Friends games I have going right now: 4

Miles run today: 4.5

It is a little embarrassing when you are a writer and you lose a game of Words with Friends.

My BFF practically skipped to our run because she creamed me with words yesterday: as Amy Duncan on “Good Luck Charlie” would say: “Ba-bam!”

When I was younger and we went to my grandmother’s house for a week each summer, my sister and I used to play Scrabble with my grandmother. My sister is four and a half years younger. My grandmother was very good at Scrabble.

I was middling, and I never got much better. Strategy is apparently not my strong suit in life, and Triple Letter and Triple Word scores are not helpful when the tiles you hold are: REAOUIL.

So when my son wanted to get the “Words with Friends” app to whup me with while away the long summer hours, I agreed.

Now, years after all other people in the Known Universe have moved on to complex apps, our family has become obsessed with it. Two hours this weekend consisted of us, sitting out on the deck, waiting for pings from our various electronic devices.

Why? You might ask. We have a perfectly good turntable-ish hard copy Scrabble board. But oh, how fun it is to touch the screen and put tiles on the board and then recall them when the app tells you it isn’t really a word. I must have tried a million “RECRY”s and “PILIS” words that actually do not exist.

I love words. I know a lot of words. A lot, I tell you. I do not actually know a lot of words that make use of the letters “OIAOEIQ.” And yes, I know “QI” counts as a word in Scrabble.

This weekend, I learned from my husband that “JOW” is a word, although I have never heard it before and secretly wonder if he pretended to look up the definition. My husband is not supposed to know about bell tolling kinds of words; he is supposed to only know unhelpful science-y words like “deoxyribonucleic acid” and “ethylene” which are not Scrabble-ish words.

He got irritated when I played “QUOTH.”

My son got irritated when I beat him by about a hundred points.

“I am 28 years older than you and a writer,” I said, not very secretly excited that there is at least one person I can beat, even if he is only 11.

“But some of your words aren’t real,” he said.

“Words with Friends thinks they are,” I said happily.


Words with Friends does not reward me for knowing SAT vocabulary words like “recalcitrant” and “aesthete.” Those are words I can wrap my head around.

I’m studying up, all you “QI”s out there. If I see a Triple Letter score, you better believe I’m on it. And quite frankly, tiles full of vowels are starting to scare me. I really, really like consonants.

But good news! The Words with Friends app does the math part for you. That’s when I decided it’s my kind of game.


19 thoughts on “When You Have Words with Friends

  1. robincoyle says:

    Wanna play Words with Friends with me?

    • annewoodman says:

      Sure! (Are you saying that because you’re sure you’ll win?)

      I’m at bunny507. Watch out for my signature move–QI.

      • robincoyle says:

        I am excellent at crossword puzzles. Scrabble? Not so much. I think my name is on Words with Friends is Robincoyle. It is not letting me invite you to a new game. Hmm….

  2. Bernie Brown says:

    Ken and I played Scrabble on Sunday. I had the “all vowel” curse for much of the game, but I did get to use the word “whelm.” It’s actually a word. It doesn’t need the “over.” It means the same thing. You can use it sometime. 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      Ooooh! Another word I didn’t realize was a word! I will have to use “whelm” in a sentence today. “I’m so busy, and my chores are threatening to whelm me.” Wow. That sounds weird. ; )

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    If I started playing online games, I know I’d be sucked in forever. I’d never emerge to do any writing. 🙂 My hat’s off to those of you who can break free when you want to.

    • annewoodman says:

      I think it’s partly a stay-at-home mom thing… I am simply not allowed to sit at the computer and write all day! There is a lot of physical activity, and when we’re exhausted, there has to be a down-time activity. My life as a writing hermit is over, at least for the summer. ; )

    • crubin says:

      I’m with you JM–once I got started, I may never leave the thing alone!

      Fun post, Anne. It reminds me of why I love to play Scategories and Boggle with my husband–those are the only two games he can never beat me at. 🙂

  4. E says:

    Sorry for gloating about the win. My 13 year old has been beating the pants off of me for 6 months, so it felt good to win one!

  5. thepoelog says:

    We are not allowed to play Scrabble in our house. Mostly because of the 2007 Incident involving my boyfriend laughing and making fun of me because of my pathetic entries. This Incident included a taunt about how I was a professional writer and this should really be so much easier for me. Boards were cleared. Wine was spilled. And Scrabble was put away in a box forever.

    • annewoodman says:

      The spilling of wine is when things get serious.

      I totally understand about Scrabble. I wrote an earlier blog entry about how our family is too competitive for most board games. Sad but true.

  6. 4amWriter says:

    I love, love, love games. But I can’t get into online games. My sister keeps trying to invite me to do scrabble via facebook, but I am not interested. Maybe because I feel like I already do soooo much on the computer, that my downtime has to be away from the computer.

    Otherwise, my favorite games are board games, Scrabble is among them.

    Good luck with your future games!

  7. Melissa says:

    My boys play occasionally and I can tell because they start asking me for words and then complain that my words are too long?!?!

  8. Tania says:

    I kind of suck at words with friends too and I think I know why. As writers we try to come up with impressive words but other people know how to play the system (double points, triple word score, etc). I’ve seen people score a huge amount of points with ridiculously simple words, it pisses me off. Since blogging, all my WWF games died. I tried starting a few up but then neglected it and they all died again. Some of my friends IRL started to make comments about how I just abandoned our games and I decided it was time to call it a day.

    ps I totally like the automatic math too, thumbs up.

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