Nikki (nakeisha) wrote,

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American or British spelling?

When I first go into fandom some seven years ago, I had two things drilled into me:

1. When writing in an American show one should write in American English with American spellings, and vice versa.
2. That you should write in the language of the country in which the story is set.

Which is fine if you happen to be writing about an American show set in America, or a British show set in Britain.

However, one thing on which I've never seen a consensus is, what happens when you set the story in a different country from where the show is set? For example, you set a Professionals story in America, or an NCIS story in England. What then do you do? Because you cannot keep to both rules. Some people say you adhere to the country in which the show is set. Others say you adhere to the country in which the story is set.

I am now writing an NCIS AU story that is set in England - so which spelling should I use?

- American (because the show is American)
- British (because it's set in Britain)

The language will, as with all my NCIS stories be a mixture, in speech, of American and British terminology, because although the story is AU, Gibbs will still be American and Ducky British. And the story, which is set in 1980, will be entirely from Ducky's POV (third person).

Poll #982992 Spellings in fanfic

Which spelling should I use for my NCIS AU story that is set in Britain?

American - because NCIS is an American show.
British - because the story is set in Britain.
It doesn't really matter, because whatever you do you'll irritate some people. Just pick whichever you are more comfortable with and stick to it throughout the story, that is far more important.
As all your other NCIS stories are written using American spellings, go with American. If you use British spellings it will look odd on your website/in any archives.
I doubt if anyone will actually notice, use whatever you instinctively feel is 'right' and are more comfortable using. Stop angsting about it and just write the story!

Not really to do with the poll just briefly what I tend to do

Out of habit, I do tend to follow the 'rule, at least to an extent. I set my spell checker to American English when writing NCIS, and unless I'm writing Ducky in speech or his POV in first person, I try not to use blatant non-American words. I think, at least from what I've seen written, that I'm one of the few British NCIS writers who does this. And as I've never seen any American pass comment about it, generally it seems that the above 'rules' don't matter in the NCIS fandom.

From a reader's perspective, I have never been bothered by English spellings in American show fanfic, or vice versa. As with typos, etc., I find that if I'm consciously noticing them, then I'm not really enjoying the story. But that's just me. I do it myself, purely because that was how I was 'taught' when I first got into fandom. As I said, it's habit.
Tags: fanfic: general, media fandom : meta, polls

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