For whom the bell knells

If only Hemingway had used that for his title, maybe I wouldn’t have had a character knelling to pray in a finished manuscript submitted to a prestigious contest.  I got got of course, and I won’t (probably) make that mistake again, but then again, maybe I will.  It’s not exactly a homonym, but it’s one of those close-enough-that-spell-check-lets-it-pass nyms.

As writers, we try really hard to not let our bares bare arms in their bear arms, and we make little lchecklists of these homonyms and other nyms:

  • “There, there, they’re there,” said their father
  • You bear arms in bare arms
  • “Nell, pleas kneel when the bell knells,” said Neal
  • It’s its…
  • Hear here
  • The deserter ate dessert in the desert
  • The cavalry never arrived at Calvary
  • “Yea, I said yeah,”  (or is it “Yeah, I said yea”?)
  • Who’s is whose?
  • In order not to err, the heir came up for air

Been burned on more than a few of these. When I was writing “The Cavalryman’s Saber,” I looked it up a dozen times, since the cavalryman was not a Calvaryman.

As for whom the bell knells, it knells for Lee.

CR Hodges

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