Monday, September 13, 2010

Best Word Games for Writers

I love word games. They're a great way to increase your mental clarity, and sometimes I'll stumble across a word I'm not familiar with, look it up, and realize it's exactly the word I've been looking for - and it will end up in my story. So today I thought it would be fun to do a post about my favorite (FREE!) word games, all available to play on the Internet without downloading anything. 

As if we needed more distractions.

Oh well. It's sort of related to writing....right?

Text Twist: One of my all-time favorite word games is Text Twist, and now there's Text Twist 2. We used to play it in my copywriting class, but I was playing it before that, too. In high school, my friends and I would gather around the computer in the drama department's green room and all play together. Later, after college, when things were slow at my first job, my co-workers and I would play on the giant computers we had at the photo studio - the ones that we were supposed to use for showing our customers their pictures. So Text Twist and I have a long and fun history together. The concept is simple - it's basically a word jumble, but you can only advance to the next round if you find the seven-letter word. In the timed version, you have two minutes to get as many words as possible. It's fun and addictive and a good way to kill some time while you're working through that plot hole.

What Word: What Word is another favorite of mine. In this game, you get between one and four words that you have to find in a jumble of letters. You find the What Word by rearranging the jumble to form actual words, saving letters in the What Word until you have them all. But there's definitely a strategy - if one of the what words is, say, PHONE, and you put the ONE together without the PH first, then the ONE will register as a word and disappear, and you'll have to start all over again. Likewise, if you're saving the H and then happen to stick a T above it and an E below...well, there goes your H.

Word Descrambler: Writer's Digest has a few fun games on their site, including this one, Word Descrambler. It takes a little while to play because you have to play for 15 rounds, but since you can only mess up twice before it boots you off, I never make it the whole 15 rounds.

Word Bubbles: This last game I found one day when I was poking around on Hyperbole and a Half, which is quite possibly most definitely the most hilarious blog in existence. She called Word Bubbles "the most addicting game ever," and while I don't think it's quite as addicting as some of the other ones I mentioned, I do think it's challenging and fun. The site that hosts it also has a ton of other fun mind games to keep you from dying of boredom if you, like me, happen to have a boring day job. In Word Bubbles, you get three letters - say sta - and you have to come up with as many words as you can that begin with those three letters. BUT you can only give a certain number of words with the same number of letters before it won't let you guess anymore. So once you get, say, four 5-letter words, you can't guess any more. There are only three rounds that last about 30 seconds each, so it's good for a quick pick-me-up when things are a little slugish in your brain.

Now, you tell me - aside from crossword puzzles, because I know where to find plenty of those - what are some of your favorite word games (or just general games)?


  1. Thanks for telling me about word bubbles. Must try that one. i know aout text twist. A word game i play is Literati, on yahoo games, which is a scrabble game you play against others for points. It's addictive and you have to have more, especially if you're losing.

  2. I can't play these. :-( Well, I can. But I'm dyslexic, so it ends up being really pathetic and frustrating.

  3. There's this geography game on Facebook that I'm obsessed with. You get a world map and city names flash. You get more points the closer to the geographical location you click.

    The reason this game is so insidious is that it makes you feel like you're learning. Maybe you are learning. But you're also wasting MASSIVE amounts of time!

  4. I love Text Twist! But I'm awful at it.

  5. Book Bird, I know and love literati. It is totally addictive. Pretty much all of Yahoo's games are!

    Jess, that made me sad. :( I can't believe I didn't know that about you!

    Jenn, I usually try to stay away from FB games! But I love learning + games. I think you are *totally* learning in that case.

    Shayda, I think once you practice Text Twist you get better at it. They repeat letters a lot so you learn the words, plus you know the patterns that they through the letters up in. Also I've had a *lot* of practice.

  6. So much fun - thanks for posting this! I looooove Text Twist! Can't wait to check out the others!

  7. I was mad addicted to Text Twist for a while there. I'll have to try some of those other ones!

  8. I know we writers are usually loners but great word games to play with others are Bananagrams and Word on the Street. They're both so addictive!

  9. Ahhh, text twist. Another way I know I love you and your blog. I used to play this ALL the time in high school and just rediscovered it a few weeks ago.

  10. Samarang is pretty addictive

    But the background music is awful, so mute it

  11. Oh my word, I used to play Text Twist until my eyes and wrists felt like they would fall off. I rocked at Text Twist. It does awesome things to your brain, doesn't it? It also helps if you have your husband standing behind you helping you solve it.


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