Peeps, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect, nor is my writing. I know I need an editor; I’m just too broke to pay for one… And, although I know people living in glass houses shouldn’t complain (unless they can do so anonymously,) after reading a slew of American romances that came from Australia and New Zealand, I need to vent.
I understand and appreciate my international colleagues wanting to write for the largest global publishing market— that’s North America for those not in the know—I say go for! I love a good read no matter where it comes from. But here’s the thing, if your novel’s set in America and all your characters are born and bred, Grade A, prime American beefcake:
IT NEEDS TO BE WRITTEN IN AMERICAN ENGLISH
We don’t refer to or address our mothers as Mum. We may keep mum (as in stay silent on a matter) or put fresh cut mums (as in chrysanthemums) in water. But, depending on the region, the age and gender of the speaker, we’re more likely to use mom, mommy or mama (I won’t go into the additional ethnic and social sub-cultural references. )
We don’t have car parks. We park our cars in parking lots. Sidewalks are for walking and pavement refers to a road, parking lot and sometimes a sidewalk’s surface.
A car with a manual transmission is a stick shift, or stick, and we shift gears with a gearshift, not a gear stick (or gear-stick… gearstick…not sure what’s right.)
While a stand of trees planted to block the wind is called a windscreen some places, the front facing window of a car is a windshield everywhere.
A rubber(even wrapped around a pencil dick) is not eraser, it’s a condom.
We take out the trash or garbage. Rubbish is the stuff spewing out of Rush Limbaugh’s face.
Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas… Happy Christmas? Nu uh.
Additionally…. If you’re going to write about a common practice or custom (This really sets my teeth on edge, and makes me want to chuck my beloved Nexus 7 against the nearest wall,)
KNOW HOW THINGS ARE DONE WHERE THE STORY TAKES PLACE.
In a biker romance I just finished, the author went on and on how, after being bailed out of prison, convicts (I’m assuming they’re convicts since they didn’t have to stand trial and maybe did some time? It was all rather vague.) were forced to traffic drugs to pay back the bail laid out by the MC’s president.
There’s so much wrong here it’s hard to know where to start…
Okay, so when the premise of your story revolves around common practice (like what occurs when you’re charged with a crime,) you need to find out what that practice is… (Seriously peeps, you can google bail in less than two minutes. Here’s a quick hint: bail is posted before you go to trial and you get it back after you go to court.)
There’s a reason I don’t write Australian or Indian romances (but if I had to, it would be from a tourist’s perspective.) There’s even subcultures here in the US that I shy away from because I’m too ignorant to do them justice.
So please, I beg you, my literary brothers and sisters, if you want to go American, use American English. And for goodness sake, make sure your slang is appropriate. We don’t say arse (ass), wanker (jerk, loser, fucker…) or bloody (damn.) And cunt? Tread carefully with that one, even if it’s an anatomical reference… still tread carefully.
And finally get the basics of common convention right, or at least not totally wrong (even American authors like yours truly mess up little details, it’s called literary license, bitches…yeah, I intentionally fucked that up… Why did I do that?… Errr… I’ll get back to you just as soon as I come up with some deep sounding bullshit.)
Thanks Peeps. I feel so much better after getting that off my chest.