1. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Grammar, spelling and publishers

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by vera2014, Mar 25, 2014.

    Hi,
    I have a question about writers who send manuscripts to publishers in both Canada and the US: Do they prepare two different manuscripts? Do they send out one that uses Canadian spelling/grammar and another manuscript that uses American spelling/grammar? Can I get away with sending a Canadian version to US publishers?
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  2. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are other threads alluding to this however I would suggest adhering to your own country's spelling etc.
    There are those that would suggest tailoring it to whichever market you intend to be your primary one.
    Although I can see the logic in this thinking, I think each writer should generally work within the parameters of their own local conventions in this respect.
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I know the Brits add u and a to everything and don't realize you need a k, not a c in some words, ;)

    But other than 'eh' I hadn't noticed many differences in Canadian English.

    Perhaps they spell differently in BC than in Ontario?
     
  4. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    I usually put the "u" in valour and colour. I don't put a comma before the word "and" when it comes after a series of comma linked words. I'm so used to American spelling that I probably make a hybrid grammar.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it depends on where you want to see the book sold... if aiming for a canadian market, write canadian style... if targeting american readers, stick to american usage...

    the above relates only to the ms itself... when querying agents or publishers in both countries, write the letter in whichever style you normally use... don't try to fake being one or the other...
     
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  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm, I wonder about that, mamma. Am I supposed to be fluent enough in Canadian to write a novel "properly" enough for submission? Though I doubt there's enough difference between the two to worry about, there could be and how would I know? I wouldn't try to write a "British novel", even though I've been a beta for two Brits for several years now, because there's no way I'd know how to get everything "British" versus American. I would say write in your 'native tongue' and let the publishers worry about country-specific changes, if needed. They'll know where you hale from and I would think take that into consideration.
     
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  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you can't, why would you be seeking publication only in canada?
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only in Canada - or including Canada? The OP was asking about submitting to both. Personally, it wouldn't matter for me - if I found a publisher anywhere that I'd like to do my book, I'd stick with the language I know, figuring they'd know part of the editing would include making it "palatable" to the various countries it would be sold in. I mean, a publisher wouldn't expect an American author to do their own translation for a French edition, would they (which brings up a point about French versus English for Canadian publishers...)? So why would this be any different?
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    it depends on where you want to see the book sold... if aiming for a canadian market, write canadian style... if targeting american readers, stick to american usage...

    There are other threads alluding to this however I would suggest adhering to your own country's spelling etc.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What about where the story is set?

    If you are an American writing a story set in London with English Characters, would you write the American way or the British way?

    What about the other way around, what if you were british but set your story overseas? Regardless of where you were selling it.

    If your plans are to sell wordwide, then how do you choose how to write it then?
     
  10. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is my strongly held belief that one should write in their own country's version of English. I don't personally believe in writing for a 'market' or demographic (just my own opinion).
    If I were writing a story set in America, I as a British writer would write in standard (U.K.) English.
    Having said that, there are no hard and fast rules. It is subjective choice and there may be instances were one might deem it necessary to 'become' American, Canadian or whatever if the story requires it and the language used may need to reflect this. However, I would never dream of catering specifically to a country linguistically in this way. I find the idea quite perverse in all honesty.
     
  11. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    I think publishers routinely produce different editions for different countries. In J.K. Rowling's new book, The Casual Vacancy, for instance, we find these lines:

    "The ambulance had to come from the neighbouring city of Yarvil ..." (U.K. edition)

    "The ambulance had to come from the neighboring city of Yarvil ..." (U.S. edition)​
     
  12. Kocarek Bohuslav
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    Kocarek Bohuslav New Member

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    neighbouring, or neighboring.
    u here, u there.
    But ask me how I write a book, that is to translate it into English to be English, American or Canadian with a smile not substantiate cabinet. I have my book translated into English, but now I needed her to translate from "English" in English, to go to go. Well, you see, to go, to go sign in my language, in order to release it. Now Shakespeare hint. To write or not to write.
    Be sure to write the theme is interesting, but how?
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...i was replying to you there, not the OP...

    ...in my reply to the OP above, i assumed [perhaps overly-optimistically] that 'only' would be understood in re 'targeting'...
     
  14. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Hmmm. Some good answers and yes, if you are talking about translation from one language to another (English to French, Spanish to German) then I guess the publisher would do the work through a professional translation service.

    For me, (and I'm talking about variations of English here) if a story is set in London then I want it to be written in UK English but if the story is set in America, then I expect it to be written in US English, regardless of where the writer is from.

    For a UK English writer to write a story set in America with American characters but written in UK English, (and vice versa) smacks of laziness.
     
  15. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    You can be sure that J.K. Rowling wasn't asked to go through the MS and change all the British usage for the American edition. The publisher did that. I don't see how you make that out as laziness.
     
  16. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I'm not talking about changing it after publication for selling in another country!!! Of course JK Rowling's books were SET IN THE UK and so her publishers will have done the changes before releasing a copy overseas!

    I'm talking about WHEN YOU WRITE IT!

    OK, I'll make this simpler.

    The story of an American man, in America who comes into the house one night and says to his wife "that damn dog from the neighbor's has knocked over our trash can again!"

    Just because I am an English writer writing about an American in America, should I write "that damn dog from the neighbour's has knocked over our dustbin again!"

    What American would call a trash can a dustbin?

    That's what I'm talking about and maybe it's all about the dialogue but if you're going to get the dialogue right for where the person comes from and what nationality he is then maybe the rest of the story should follow?
     
  17. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    And I'm not, so we're talking past each other.
     
  18. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I can see why you would not understand my comment about laziness then.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, if you're publishing the novel in the UK, you should write it:

    "That damn dog from the neighbour's has knocked over our trash can again!"

    American word choice, UK spelling.
     
  20. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nor is there laziness involved in not getting Americanisms correct if you're a British writer while writing it.

    Does anyone honestly think that calling it a dustbin instead of a trash can (or maybe garbage can or perhaps trash barrel or...) is going to be the deciding factor for the publisher? I would much rather read a submission by an American about an Englishman who used America English than to read the same story butchered by the author trying to speak a language they were not conversant in.
     
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  21. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I see you've decided to own the font thing.
     
  22. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I could 'like' this multiple times, I would. The voice of reason.
     
  23. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Pardon?
     
  24. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Who knows what the deciding factor is for publishers these days.

    These are just my opinions and I am probably more wrong than I am right!

    Jeeze aloo, what is this? jump on cutecat22 day?
     
  25. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Close, but no cigar. For a book editor or publisher, it isn't a question of what you would rather read. It's a question of what customers in different markets would rather read.

    Here it is in a nutshell: If you're a Brit, write Brit. If you're an American, write American. The decision to market different versions -- one for U.K. readers, another for U.S. readers -- is a marketing decision. That isn't your worry. Leave it to the publisher. You're a writer. Just write.
     
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