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.