Word Wednesday: Heritage vs. Lineage

Learning new words and being able to find the word that means exactly what the story needs can mean the difference between a mediocre story and a brilliant one.

On Wednesdays we will identify an unusual word, provide its definition, and discuss its application or its impact.

Time for another Word Wednesday!

Today I’m doing my civic duty—jury duty, to be exact. I look forward to sharing my adventures soon.

The words we’re reviewing today became a point of contention while I was writing “Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter.”

I chose to use “heritage” twice, and my husband questioned whether it was the right word in each case.

Here are the two original sentences:

  1. “My heritage did not help me either, for I was the daughter of Ravana, the demon who kidnapped their beloved king’s wife.”

  2. “Macchanu could not doubt the evidence of his own eyes, for Maiyarab taught him his heritage, taught him to worship and trust in gods.”

After consulting my handy-dandy dictionary and deciding what made more sense, I changed the first sentence to use “lineage” but kept the second sentence as it was.

So what’s the difference?


  1. Something handed down from the past, as a tradition

  2. Something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inheritance

  3. Something reserved for one

There’s another specific definition used in Law, but I won’t pretend to instruct about the application of a legal term.


  1. Lineal descent from an ancestor; ancestry or extraction

  2. the line of descendants of a particular ancestor; family

Why did I change Sentence 1?

In the first sentence, Suvi is specifically referring to her father and to her ancestry as a demon. While I also meant her cultural background as a mermaid and a demon, the real meaning I want to convey hinges on her bloodline. So given these definitions, “lineage” describes it better.

Final sentence:

“My lineage did not help me either, for I was the daughter of Ravana, the demon who kidnapped their beloved king’s wife.”

Why didn’t I change Sentence 2?

In this case, Suvi is describing not just her son Macchanu’s parentage, but—more importantly—the cultural and religious aspects of his society and his role in it or obligations to it. So lineage would have changed the meaning of what I was trying to say.

Final sentence:

“Macchanu could not doubt the evidence of his own eyes, for Maiyarab taught him his heritage, taught him to worship and trust in gods.”

The Best Valentine’s Day Party

My husband recently asked me what I’d like to do for Valentine’s Day. With two munchkins, it’s hard to make date plans without LOTS of planning, and my capacity for planning has been exhausted by planning a novel. So honestly I still don’t know what we are doing on Sunday.

So often Valentine’s Day plans are tied to things couples do together, leaving single folks feeling the February cold.

Holidays should not be about excluding people, but rather about celebrating our commonalities. Peace on Earth and all that jazz…it has to start with tolerance and inclusion and building one another up rather than tearing each other down.

One year a group of single friends decided to take action, to find something to celebrate on a day typically reserved for lovey-dovey twosomes. We planned a potluck dinner and movie night at one friend’s place, and all of us appeared, a little dressed up in case we wanted to go out later (which we did), to enjoy each other’s company.

The Best Valentine's Day PartyOne Casanova-without-a-target brought single roses for all the single ladies, and I think all of us really appreciated the flower. While I don’t remember what movie we watched—it was some action film—we also watched a bit of Myth Busters, possibly the episode involving making candles out of earwax like Shrek did.

The following year, several people were no longer single and we didn’t find an opportunity to do another Valentine’s singleton party before I moved away.

But that party was such fun, and it reminded me of the value of enjoying who you are, who your friends are, and not placing all your value on whether there is a significant other in your life. It’s totally not cool of a holiday to make people feel worse about themselves, and that Valentine’s Day, we made sure not to fall prey to its petty chocolate hearts and over-the-top mushiness.

So this Valentine’s Day, take a moment to do something kind for yourself and find a way to do something that makes you feel good about yourself and your abilities.

And if you need a little motivation: I’m still working on my New Year’s resolutions, and one that I’m sticking with, slowly but surely, is learning how to draw. Stay tuned for a picture from my sketchbook. I’m learning so much from this process, and having a lot of fun doing it.

Do you have any plans for this Valentine’s? What personal enrichment goals are you working on?