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Anyone tried to register a website name recently? I did.

There are over 250,000 words in the English language. And all of them have already been taken. Even the misspelled versions of them have been taken: try out "weezle," "elefant," and "trooth." . Every word in this whole column has already been indisputably, absolutely, positively, utterly, gobbled up by some internet leviathan (unless I've made a horrible typo). Even made-up words like "snorf," "gazillionaire," and "tingo" have been taken.

When you try to register something like, oh, say "pottymouth.com," (yes, I did try) you'll get shut down. I suppose that's to be expected. But comcomcomcomcomcomcomcom.com? You'd think they'd let that one go. It's taken. I typed in approximately 10,000 words (out of who-knows-how-many I thought of), wrote down 1,000 possibilities, and narrowed it down to 125 quarterfinalists. Then today narrowed those down to 20 semifinalists. I bet you're expecting this to be a pretty kick-ass website name, right? Well, don't get your hopes up.

You know, the whole process reminded me of writing dialogue. I knew the nature of the website that I wanted to register - and I had to find just the right word to describe it. Likewise, in dialogue, you know the emotion or thought your character needs to express, and you need to find the right words.

Trouble is, if you use one of the first few choices you make, chances are, it's something that someone's already done before. So you can't use that. And if you use something too obscure, then you're going to be unique, but you're going to lose the essence of the meaning.

I've said this before (even fairly recently), but I just read a script with the worst dialogue I've ever seen, so you're going to suffer through the lecture again. When you write dialogue, there are a million choices for every line. Trouble is, you're the only one who's making the choice. The only search engine telling you that you can't use a line is between your ears. You cannot be satisfied with finding #100, or #73, or even #15. You have to aspire. You have to crack the top 10, the top 3, even hit the top 1. If you don't, you're either going to be treading over the same ground that someone else already walked, or you're going to have a piece of dialogue that doesn't get your meaning across.

I read some scripts in which I can just tell that someone settled for #50 every time. This is where he or she set the bar, and when it was cleared, the line stayed that way forever. On the good side, it rarely dropped below that line, but on the bad side, it led to a boring script that I felt like I had read a hundred times before.

There's another lesson in my hunting for a website name. The names that I did finally start to uncover - I'll announce the winner down the road a bit - were often names that had a unique and personal meaning to me. I knew that I had a good original thought when a name was available, and yet it still had a spark to it.

And notice how many possibilities I went through - all to find one word.

If writing dialogue is easy for you, maybe you should raise the bar a little. Sometimes, I let my own slip down, and have to go back and rewrite whole scenes because my critic was sleeping at the wheel. That's the nature of the craft.

Just don't let any low-ranked lines sneak through to your final draft.

Joining the dotcom revolution,

P.S. I'm at EmailGrady@aol.com. Here's one word that hasn't been taken, by the way: motherflucker.com. It's up-for-grabs. In fact, here's my TOP TEN WEBSITE NAMES THAT ARE STILL AVAILABLE (Of course, these are the ones I'm NOT using -- just don't ask me how I know they're available.):

10. steamingpoo.com
9. fulldiapers.com
8. MrKnuckles.com
7. brainsneezing.com
6. massiveheadwound.net
5. squishybrains.com
4. thegoddamn.com
3. anotherbroke.com
2. myuntitled.com
1. badmidget.com
evilpuppies.com (TIE)


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