The Perfect Word


Here at MultiWords we’ve peeked into the future and have seen the future of the Perfect Word. We bring good news.

In the bad old days, stuffy modernist authors obsessed over words. They put great faith in the process of revision. They saw the construction of style as a special kind of creative labor. They thought they, like, owned their words.

The Perfect Word served specific functions for the modernist writer. Some thought the Perfect Word perfectly matched an underlying reality. It showed the hard work the author put into the process of selecting it. It might affect you, the reader, in some precisely calibrated way. Whatever the reasons for choosing it, the Perfect Word was the word the author chose, the word the author imposed upon you.

Postmodernists became suspicious of perfection. Words only ever stood in relation to other words, they said, in an endless chain of reference. Words were social constructions that had no necessary relationship to any underlying reality. Authors, not surprisingly, freaked out. Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style (1947) showed why picking a style was scary business. Exercises in Style renders the same trivial anecdote in ninety-nine styles. None of these ninety-nine is first or foremost. There’s no “original,” no authentic baseline. No legitimate way of picking the “right” style.

Today, anxious authors have other problems. Perhaps the Perfect Word today is the word that gets top search results. Literary style might well be something more like Search Engine Optimization. Perhaps the Perfect Word is the word that gets the most retweets. Style would then be technology for winning a social competition for attention.

We at MultiWords find these competitions somewhat dull. We’re sick of letting authors pick words. We’re sick of authors having crises. At MultiWords, you the reader will get to choose the Perfect Word. How awesome is that?

Using MultiWords, the Perfect Word is the word you choose for yourself. Your reading level, your mood, your values will shape which version of the author’s word will make its way to your eyeballs. The Perfect Word will be the words you most relate to. The Perfect Word will be the word that speaks to the your unconscious needs. The Perfect Word will be the word that knows you better than you know yourself. The Perfect Word is nothing other than the word you want to read when you want to read it.

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