I published a blog update shortly after the beta readers for The Prince of Graves had finished their work. The article, Lightening Strikes and Hoards, described how my beta readers had found some pretty bone-headed grammar mistakes. One of the most egregious was that I constantly used the word “lightening” instead of “lightning.”
I was thinking up a blog topic today, and my mind wandered back to those humiliating oversights. I thought I’d write a short piece on the similarities of words, and how they can creep into your WIP. To intro the piece, I was going to start with the definitions of “lightning” and “lightening.”
This is the embarrassing part. Maybe I shouldn’t even admit this, but I honestly had no idea the definition of “lightening” as a noun. So let’s take a look. What I wanted:
Lightning: noun. a brilliant electric spark discharge in the atmosphere, occurring within a thundercloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground.
What I wrote, and would have published, if my beta readers hadn’t saved me:
Lightening: noun Medicine/Medical . the descent of the uterus into the pelvic cavity, occurring toward the end of pregnancy, changing the contour of the abdomen and facilitating breathing by lessening pressure under the diaphragm.
So this line from The Prince of Graves would have had a very different visual effect, for those who happened to know their medical terminology:
Frey turned back to regard the black clouds moving his way, now crowned with [lightening].
Thank you Beta Readers.