Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Trouble Down Under

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
       I am heavily into editing mode at the moment and I've made so many notes in my MS that I need to remember to "Americanise"  certain words so that it will be appealing to a wider audience. (As I type this Blogger is telling me that I need to replace the S in Americanise with a Z!). Ebooks are still relatively uncommon in Australia when compared with the US or the UK and although my novel is set in Australia I have a feeling that my audience will be elsewhere. So much of the entertainment media that is available in Australia comes from overseas and we all grow up watching American and British TV shows so we're used to the lingo.
        I'm afraid that it doesn't really work the other way around and that my reviews will be littered with comments saying that the writing is too Aussie specific and that the reader was confused about what the words mean. On the otherhand as a reader, I quite like coming across new words that I'm unsure of. People still use a dictionary right? What do you guys think? Should I or shouldn't I "Americanise" my book? Is it a big problem for you when you read?


  1. I think there's a balance. Definitely educate the reader and have them learn some new lingo. I'm personally fascinated by Australia (it's on my bucket list), but if there's too muc slang so that I'm looking up every fourth word or so, I'd probably get bogged down and give up. So that's a yes, but not too much, if that makes sense!
    Nice to meet you!
    Tina @ Life is Good
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  2. Why not just put in a glossary for US readers? I'm afraid I see red when an Australan writer tries to Americanise(or even Americanize) a book. American readers aren't dumb. They will probably prefer the real thing to pseudo-American. You'd probably get things wrong and then what? I once read an Australian book published by a big publisher in which the story was set in Australia, but the characters did things they wouldn't do here and I could ony assume the publisher was planning to sell it overseas and wanted to prepare it for that, assuming, "oh, Aussie readers are so used to Amercan TV shows d books, they'll be okay with it."

  3. There are a lot of people who write in different countries about things that happen in their country. When I read Canadian books I get thrown off when I read the word "colour" but I know that it's how they spell it in Canada, so it doesn't bother me. I think the same rule applies no matter which country.

    Since it is taking place in Australia, I'd say stick with how you spell, write, talk. My only suggestion is to have a balance (as stated in above comment): stick to mostly commonly known phrases/words, but feel free to add in a couple ones we might not know yet. I do like learning new things about different cultures/countries--and if it's words/phrases, that's even awesomer to me as a writer. A lot of people love Australia, and they would probably really love to read something that feel authentic. Who better to write authentic than someone who knows it? ^_^

  4. Since it's set in Australia, use Australian words. It will sound more authentic. Good readers are well-read and should pick up on most of the lingo.

  5. I'm in Australia as well and use Aussie spelling in my writing. I have a thing about being who I am, so being authentic is important. I agree too with making our work 'readable' to all, but not at the cost of losing our unique identity. In saying that, my writing doesn't incorporate much Aussie slang or lingo, but when and if it became prolific I'd go with the glossary as suggested by Sue.

  6. It would be great to have access to a New York editor because the book industry already knows what to do about this. I think comparing the UK and US versions of a book like maybe Harry Potter might help in figuring out what to do. The book you're writing is YA, and you have to keep in mind the readers are still children.

    I think I can help you with the Aussie stuff that will really throw Americans off. Probably not every single Aussie thing needs to be replaced for the US version. Mostly, it would be about changing the spellings of words and maybe using a different slang term here and there.

  7. Hi Lan,
    I never really thought about that, about the difference between Aussie vs. American language. I'm assuming you might be especially concerned with modern slang etc. Like you said, I don't usually have a problem with not knowing a word or two. I can typically tell from the context or how something is said what the author means. Editing can be really difficult, but I know you'll do well. Hoping it all works out and your book is enjoyed by all countries of the world :-). Good luck!
    Ninja Girl

  8. Yea I only learned the difference between the Aussie and the american spelling until that time I read one of your MS's. Still, it wasnt too much of a difference. I think there should be a balance. As long as it's a slang term that you can infer the meaning through context clues, then I dont think it should be changed. Personally, I hate having to check definitions while I read.

  9. I say no. I'd love to learn more about Australia. To us (I'm Canadian) it would a new world, atmosphere, tone. What fun ÷)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  10. I’m not really a dictionary person haha. I almost never check dictionary when I come across new words unless I’m reading my text book. :P I guess the decision really depends on what kind of readers you aim for for your book. If it’s mainly intended for American and the rest of the world, American will be a better choice in my opinion. :) I remember reading Good Oil by Laura Buzo and it confused me what ‘good oil’ means. Some other Australian phrases made me have to guess as well. I checked out the US version, Love and Other Perishable Items, and found it easier to read since I’m more familiar with American phrases. :)

    But it’s your decision in the end, Lan! I hope you get to pick the best decision for you. :) When will we read this super-mysterious book? Can’t-wait-can’t-wait-can’t-wait! :D Good luck with the editing hun! <3

  11. I personally like the Aussie-style (or originally the British style, I suppose I should say) spellings and idioms -- as a non-Aussie, I think those would help to transport me into your setting, particularly if the story is told from the point of view of the narrator.

  12. I'd vote for not Americanizing, as an American. I'd rather learn new words and a new point of view than be possibly confused by things that have been Americanized that'd make more sense without it.


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