Tag Archives: I am Writing

Word Confusion Writing Tip

Word Confusion


At some point, we’ve all had writing mix-up of words we don’t intend. Within my own writing, I’ve come across some common words that I’ve gotten confused many times. Sometimes – yes – sometimes it does happen – spellcheck does confuse words and inserts the opposite word. Most often these words are interchanges of the others and thankfully I’ve caught them during my edits on the Hunt book.

Three of the most common interchanges of words I’ve come across in my writing of this book is:

Trial vs. Trail

Trial refers to the process of a civil or criminal court trial.

Trail refers to the hiking trails in the outdoors.

With just two vowels in these words, they mean completely different things – almost like light and dark. I’ve caught this so many times that’s it’s not funny. But thankfully, I noticed these blunders. I must have had hiking on the brain when I made these mistakes. After going through so many trial and appeal documents you’d think my fingers and brain would know the difference and type trial instead of trail.

Except vs. Expect

With the interchange of three letters, these two words mean something completely different. I noticed these word exchanges and it transforms the entire meaning of the sentence.

Except means basically exclude, while expect means something is likely to happen. Different meanings altogether, but when I’ve been writing these two words I have gotten them mixed up.

Reserve vs. Reverse

With the interchange of four letters, these two words mean something completely different as well.

Reserve means to hold off using and save it for the future, while reverse means everything from going backwards to acting in a usual manner. Once again one of these words can change the entire meaning of a sentence or passage.


How I caught these mistakes during my editing was when I was hard editing my Hunt book. I’d make manual changes on a printed manuscript, but then I took it a step further to ensure all my bases were covered.

Even after inserting my edits into the computer, I’d use the search function in Word to double check on finding each of these words. This gave me the added confidence that every single one of these words was correct in the context of the writing. No matter how many times I’ve done a paper edit, there was always one or two trails not corrected.

Writing Tip 

All my problem words have been identified in my Hunt book. I’m sure in the next book I write I’ll encounter new problem words to identify.

Recognize your problem words with interchanges like the ones that plagued me. Write them down. Then do a search function in the document to help you find if those word interchanges are in your document like I encountered in my own writing. The search function can be your lifesaver.


Graphic – © Christena Stephens

Tiny Murder House



“Dang, that’s a tiny house!”

Those were the first words a friend said a few weeks ago when we drove by the former Hunt home in Littlefield, Texas. We were driving north to see Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Hereford, Texas and she wanted to see the house.

“Dang, that’s a tiny house!” She said it more than once since seeing the home.

From the descriptions she’s read she was under the impression the house was much larger, as well as it being a doctor’s home. But alas the “tiny home” as she fondly calls it now was only a five-room brick house. It was grand for the early 1940s era. It was built in the late 1920s.

On this trip in December 2016, we discovered the renters who were renting the home a few years ago are now long gone. The house stands vacant. The front bedroom where the murders took place has no blinds or curtains. From the open windows, you can see a variety of boxes scattered across the room. The only change to the property is a red mailbox mounted to a post by the curb.

Dr. Roy and Mae Hunt were murdered in this “tiny” home in October 1943. When you realize how small the front bedroom was – about 10 x 10 – it takes your breath away and then you sigh and wonder how in the hell two people were murdered in such a little room with a double bed, dressers, tables, and chair. Even the small closet was so minuscule that it barely held a few clothes at best. The room’s only saving unique feature was that it had two entry doors. Also, four glass pane windows allowed both northern and eastern sunlight into the room.

Since beginning this research on these murders I’ve monitored this “tiny house” and have watched it slowly deteriorate over the years.

From my one visit inside the structure, it is almost as if time has stood still inside except for several coats of white or off-white paint. Almost meaning the little fireplace has not worked in years. The candlelight fixtures mounted to the sides of the fireplace are only remnants. The bathroom no longer has a sink. New front and back screen doors have been added. A crappy layer of old carpet covers the wooden floors. The cabinets, doors, doorknobs, and kitchen sink have never been touched.

This former Hunt home endures in a state of arrested decay. I wonder how long it will remain in its decaying state before eventually falling in on itself. Then only photographs and memories of it will be proof of the house’s existence.

Alas, I’ll always see this structure now as a “tiny house.”

My research into the murders and attempted murder has spanned six years. My book is now complete on the murders. It needs a tad more editing to keep perfecting it. I’ll start searching for a publishing company in February.


Photograph – © Christena Stephens Photography