Choose Your Spelling: American? British? Canadian?

Anyone remember Steve Martin’s joke about language? “The French, they have a different word for everything.”

Let’s apply this to English. American, British and Canadian spelling. Why do we spell the same word with different letters?

If you’re writing a book, you have a decision to make. What version of spelling will you use? The important thing is to be consistent. Pick one and stay with it.

I originally wrote everything in Canadian spelling. After a discussion with Imajin Books, we decided to use American spelling. Why? Because of the broader audience appeal. This is subjective decisions, so you might have other reasons for picking a language base, and that’s okay.

Proofreading for this is difficult. Most of us read books from various countries and are used to seeing the words spelled differently, How do you know if you’re consistent if the words look correct?

The answer: Run the manuscript though more than one spell checker.

Here is my experience with spell checkers.

Scrivener picked up some of the words, but when I ran the Word spell checker it picked up others. If you don’t have more than on spellchecker on your computer, borrow someone else’s.I used three spell checkers. I use a Mac and my husband uses a PC. I sent my manuscript to his computer. Even the Mac versus PC Word versions pick up different words.

I’ve written three novels in the Stone Mountain Mystery series, so my homework… I’ve finished updating DESCENT to American spelling. Now I have to go and update BLAZE and AVALANCHE too.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I’ve signed on with Imajin Books and intend to blog about my publishing adventure. I’ll share what I learn and hope it helps someone out there get their novel published.

Thanks for reading…

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4 thoughts on “Choose Your Spelling: American? British? Canadian?

  1. I think as Canadians, we’ve grown up being exposed to Canadian and U.S. spelling, as well as UK spelling by reading a lot of UK authors. I’m not as sure that U.S. readers have had the same exposure. In some ways, it makes it easier for Canadian writers since we’re familiar with the various spellings of gray and grey, colour and color etc. But in others, it makes it more difficult because an “odd” spelling won’t seem “odd” to us! What always gets me, though, is the UK punctuation, which is completely different than U.S. when it comes to dialogue. It always looks wrong to me!

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    1. I use Chicago Manual of Style to help me consistent with punctuation. I like to read UK authors too and after a while don’t notice the punctuation difference. It’s only when I haven’t read one in a while, that I see it.

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