A-Z Challenge,  Writing

Z is for…Z! (Or Zed?)

Z is for Z or Zed!

It’s the last day of A to Z! It’s been a lot of fun, and very educational, but I am also glad that it’s come to an end, and we can all rest a while, =)

I thought about doing a big fanfare of a finale, but it’s been a busy week, =/  So I’m just asking one more question of my readers/writers, to finish this writing theme off.

This may not be of issue to American readers/writers (although it could be!) I think it’s probably slightly more noticeable for Canadian/British readers and writers, so we’ll see what you guys say.

When you write, do you write with your country’s spellings/phrases? There are lots of small differences between different countries (and even different areas within the same country), and sometimes this makes it through into writing.

I’m going to use the difference of the ‘u’ as my example, although again, this is just one of many differences. British spellings (which extends to Canada) uses a ‘u’ in words like colour, flavour, neighbour, etc. American spellings do not.

When I write, I always write with the British spellings. Once, I tried to write with American spellings because most agents are located in the States…however, that didn’t last long, as I found I just couldn’t help/stand writing that way!

Some people change their spellings based on where they think they’ll be published (or sometimes the publisher does this as well – I don’t think I’ve ever been so annoyed as the time I read a book from a British author set in England with all English characters, that had been Americanized in spelling and phrase), and sometimes people change their spellings based on where the character is from or is located. But I do have to admit, I much prefer to see the spellings of my own country, regardless of what I’m reading, and so I definitely write that way as well!

What about you? Do you ever notice this? Are you like me, who has to put a mental ‘u’ in every ‘colo(u)r’ she comes across in a book? Or could you care less? Do spellings come into your writing at all? Have you ever even thought about it?

Hope everyone has a fantastic final day of A to Z!


  • cleemckenzie

    I think it's best to write using the spelling you're used to. You hear the voice in your head that way. Let the editor make the call about any changes in spelling.

    It has been wonderful visiting you during the A to Z. Hope to stay in touch. Congrats on finishing.

  • Laurel Garver

    Write using the spelling you're accustomed to. It is super easy to change the spellings later. You simply go to the Review menu and change the Set Language setting (to, for instance, English U.S.). Word will highlight the variant spellings, then you right click to change them.

    The bigger issue I think is dialect accuracy. I've read some fiction by Canadian authors with supposedly US settings that had a lot of the slang and terminology wrong (Americans never use the word toque for example). It's a good idea to get a US beta reader if you plan to write US settings.

    I have to edit everything at work to American English, even though we publish scholars from outside the US, including the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and numerous other countries. So this is an issue I deal with a lot. More tricky than the spelling is how US and UK punctuation rules differ. Double versus single quotes are very tedious to fix.

    Congrats on finishing the A to Z!
    Laurel's Leaves

  • Jerralea

    I'm visiting from A-Z. I found your question interesting. My answer is that I always expect to find the 'u' in words such as colour when I'm reading an author not from the United States. Same thing for grey. Americans use gray – at least in the South where I'm from. Since I'm American, I would write 'color,' but I would expect my Canadian friends to put the 'u' in.

  • Lexa Cain

    My CP group has mostly Americans but a few Australians. The "u" isn't so bad, but it took me a while to get used to the missing commas. But we're all "bi-lingual" now and are familiar with the differences. It's not just the agents who prefer US spellings and punctuation. By far the biggest reader base is in the US too. I'm glad I write the way they're used to and don't have to change. Congrats on finishing the A-Z! 🙂

  • Deshipley

    I read a great deal of Agatha Christie (who was, of course, British) during my teens, so the way the Brits handle spelling and punctuation doesn't usually throw me off. And I recall once reading some Canadian mysteries and noting with surprise that they also did the British "u" thing! I write American-style, since the majority of what I read and I are American (though our punctuation rules of old seem to be evolving to some new beast I don't quite understand, so that drives me a little crazy when it just looks /incorrect/ to me). My best friend, meanwhile, thought also American, frequently prefers to employ British spelling in her writing — just because she likes the aesthetic, I think. (She's "grey" to my "gray".) In the end, so long as the spelling/punctuation is consistent throughout the book at hand, I don't suppose it much matters.
    Well done completing the A-Z challenge, Mere!

  • Patrick Stahl

    Hello, Ms. Joyce. I'm from America and I use American spelling in all of my writing, but I actually prefer the British way of spelling some words. "Centre" looks cooler than "center," "grey" looks grayer than "gray," and so on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *