Thoughts From Inside a Manuscript

I am spending today the way I’ve spent the last few days, which is editing the edits my editor made to the manuscript I sent in just before Christmas.  This is phase two, from an editors perspective, but for me it’s phase three, because I insert the additional step "lie awake at night worrying about what the editor is doing to that manuscript and whether or not they are sane and what that might mean to my life and career until I’ve felt ill for days" in between sending the manuscript and getting it back. 

While I’m not done yet, so far this edit is easy.  The editor and I largely agree about what’s funny, good, well written or not, and I think that in the end, all we’re really going to go back and forth about is my addiction to ellipses.  (I didn’t think there were that many, but you’d be surprised how they stand out when they’re highlighted throughout a manuscript.) 

Usually the actual printed out manuscript comes mailed back to me, with things crossed out in red pen, and little notes jotted in the margins. This time the editor suggested sending an electronic file, and doing it all by using the "track changes" function in Word/Pages, and so I’m viewing all the notes and changes on my screen, and I admit I miss several things badly.  While I don’t miss the guilt about the paper use, I realize now, as I look at her notes, typed neatly into virtual post-its, that I miss the seeing the editors  handwriting.  I think you can tell a lot about someone from their script and how they wield the pen, and it seemed so much more personal to write back and forth that way- shipping an ever more altered manuscript between the two of us.

All I have to do now, is look at her changes, and click a little box that says "accept" or "reject", and I find it rather unfulfilling, and limiting.  I can’t click "consider" or "maybe" or "were you once harmed by a conjunction so that now you’re unfair to them", I have only Accept or Reject, and for anything else I must flag the section or the word and type a note.  Now, as you might have suspected if you’ve been reading here for more than ten minutes, there are a few things I like push back with editors about, mostly things like ellipses colour/color, grey/gray, honour/honor, woollen/woolen… It’s not that I think those words should be spelled my way by an American publisher – I don’t, but I do think there’s value in friendly little reminders that my spelling is not Wrong, it’s Different – and jotting wee notes about how she can’t spell (I or can’t – depending on your perspective) seemed friendly when done in pencil, but in the harsh light of a word processing program, my notes seem so petty, that I find that I’m simply approving her changes and deleting comments that I normally would have written without a thought.

In the full turn of things, it doesn’t matter.  I fully expect and accept that I’ll be overridden-  I expect to lose these debates, it’s an American publisher so I understand what their sense of spelling and grammar will be, and that they choose is appropriate.  I know she’ll scrawl a note correcting my mistake, I’ll scrawl back that it’s not a mistake, and then we’ll do it the US way,  but there was something about at least standing up for English vs American English and grammar that felt right to this Canadian. Now, here I am, letting them go without so much as a whimper because  clicking on "add comment" just seems so… formal, like it’s being added to my permanent record.  (Just so we’re clear, this isn’t a universal position change. If I have to, I’m going to the wall on mum/mom. It’s not like it’s a word that creates confusion. Everyone knows what a mum is, and she’s my mother, I decide what she’s called.)

It is a very interesting difference to me, that I feel so strongly about the  tiny change from handwriting to typing.  I feel like the editors changes are more serious, that she wouldn’t have typed it if she wasn’t really committed, and it is making me far more reluctant to change what she’s changed back to what I wanted.  Where I’m usually pretty free with the STET,  or at least the "please consider stetting it would really be nice" this one small alteration, that it’s an electronic, real change rather than a friendly arc of my pencil, makes me feel almost rude and demanding.  I feel like with a pencil I can make myself clearer.  I can write in script, in block letters.. I can press firmly (and in so doing, convey some firmness… ) or draw arrows or smiles or alligators.  (I have only once drawn an alligator  on a manuscript, but I assure you it was the only way to convey my true meaning.)  Typing, it’s one way, and it’s an actual alteration to the manuscript and it seems so – real.  It doesn’t seem like we’re negotiating and considering, but like we’re making actual firm changes.  I type, and her perspective is erased… which you would think I would like, but there you have it.

I’m going to stick with it, mostly because I know I’m change resistant and maybe the feeling will fade, and because it’s fewer trees, and because I have always felt ill while the manuscript was in the mail, in case it ever got lost.  I’m going to be really openminded about it, but I wonder if in the end, it doesn’t remind me of the impersonal nature of store bought socks or typed thank you notes.  You know?

Maybe I need more fonts, or coffee, and I know this has nothing at all to do with knitting (except that it’s a book about knitting) but it’s what I was thinking today. Being a writer is a weird job.

309 thoughts on “Thoughts From Inside a Manuscript

  1. Wondering if you heard “Q” on CBC radio this morning and the discussion about the relationship between handwriting and brain function. Really, it was about the relationship between the hands and the brain and whether there is value in retaining the skill of handwriting (the answer is an unequivocal yes, in case you’re wondering.)
    P.S. I’m Mum to my kids too, in spite of 16 years spent with them in Washington, DC.

  2. Wondering if you heard “Q” on CBC radio this morning and the discussion about the relationship between handwriting and brain function. Really, it was about the relationship between the hands and the brain and whether there is value in retaining the skill of handwriting (the answer is an unequivocal yes, in case you’re wondering.)
    P.S. I’m Mum to my kids too, in spite of 16 years spent with them in Washington, DC.

  3. I think what you need is a little tablet computer with a stylus, and then you could just draw little electronic alligators or smileys or stets on it, and ignore the impersonal “sticky notes”. I’m totally with you – sometimes electronic media just takes the heart right out of it.

  4. You might consider attaching a separate Word document that includes your comments. Keep the document open in the background and add notes as you feel the need, e.g., “I would simply like to remind you that colour isn’t wrong, it’s Canadian.”

  5. I am not a writer, but I understand your fondness for eliipses. I have an addiction to semicolons.

  6. We Americans used to spell woolen ‘woollen’. I have a dye book from 1817 published in New York under the Congress of the United States that says so. So, really the English version is the original American version. Probably so with all the words you mentioned.

  7. I guess this contributes to why we aren’t all published writers. (Hell, while I had teenage dreams of it, I don’t even practise to be one now – and I doubt that I have much that is creative to say).
    My two cents worth – will never be a ‘Mom’, despite having young neices who attended American schools early in their education. The American pronounciation of ‘plaits’ was always what got me!
    Being a typist who loves words, but having a dyspraxic son who finds some words difficult, I have adopted a more laissez faire attitude towards spelling and meanings. With age I have become less ‘black and white’ and more ‘overall gray’, and that applies to the hair as well as behaviour/grammar. I guess we mostly get there in the end, but the nuances of meaning can get lost in the communication. Vive le difference.

  8. I love the spelling differences. It reflects (obviously) the writer herself. I even insisted on having British copies of the Harry Potter books so I could read them in their original English. 😉

  9. I like your British spellings of words. You’re right-it reminds us that Americans and Canadians have some differences, although we have many things in common. I hope the editors leave your spellings of words.
    Save your manuscripts with the hand-written notes on them. If the editor has them, request them back. They could be valuable to your family and to you in the future.
    However, I have a question about why some words that are written with what is considered a British spelling look a lot like French spelling to me. Hmmmmmm…….
    I am still stuck on the odd Star Trek phenomenon that Captain Piccard, who claims to be French, speaks with a forthright British accent (with possible Scottish undertones). When he visited his family in France, they all had very pronounced British accents also. What part of France is this? I wonder why no one else comments on this and it has never been explained in the show. Shouldn’t the good captain have a FRENCH accent? Shouldn’t his family (who live in FRANCE) have French accents too? Aren’t French people offended about this? Don’t British people think this is funny, since the American company who made the show did not see the differnce between a British accent and a French accent? And that millions of people who watch the show, now in 20 years of syndication, have not noticed this either? Bizarre.
    I am waiting for your book to come out. Good job! in advance!!

  10. > there’s value in friendly little reminders that my spelling is not Wrong, it’s Different
    Amen! From a U.S. citizen born and bred: it’s a relief seeing one of our neighbors to the North hold onto her spelling. Canada is a separate place with separate customs and dialects. There’s no reason to make you out to be something you’re not. This fan likes your writing as it is.

  11. I proof-read tribunal decisions. I am not a fan of track changes. It is cold, and I feel the original draft and the feel of the writing can get lost with it.
    I don’t know electronics from bats, but I like Jen’s suggestion of the Thingy-that-lets-you-write-alligators on the manuscript. That would bring back handwriting and save trees. I hope you save many of the eliipses.

  12. Speaking as an editor, I prefer the clarity of electronic edits, but I miss the relationship building of analog forms. Don’t stop adding comments! It will help your editor to retain your voice in his/her ear when they are helping you to make your writing more intentional and precise in those sections written in the wee hours with too little caffeine.

  13. I’m a professional editor, and I know exactly what you mean. My boss and I go back and forth on hard copy in the office, but the changes get typed in and go to the authors electronically. There definitely is a difference between the two, although, since I work on a scholarly journal with a) many authors per issue and b) less leeway in terms of tone than what you’re writing, the “personal touch” is less critical in my case(I guess). But honestly, if I were in your position, I’d ask the editor what she thinks about going back to hard copy. (And if she’s worth her salt, someone in her office makes a copy of the marked-up manuscript before it goes in the mail!)

  14. Never stop standing up for your spelling/grammar… it’s yours, you own it, you were raised with it, you write it, you speak it. Your books are sold all over the world, and you are read all over the world. The editors need to become more global and less insular. It’s not like they have to translate your books from a completely foreign language, it’s still English after all.

  15. But …. I love the extra -u-‘s in Canadian English. They’re so much better than US words without them. Silly editors. 🙁

  16. As a fellow writer (though, not a professional), I understand the feeling of being nitpicked about little things like grey/gray or hiccup/hiccough, along with the feeling of wanting to throw your hands in the air and shout “DO YOU WANT TO WRITE THE DAMN BOOK YOURSELF THEN?” (Is there a font for that sentiment?)

  17. Don’t worry, I hate editing on the computer too. I loves me some environmentalism, but I simply don’t work as well on a screen as I do with a piece of paper. Also, I like to read deep, likely unnecessary meaning into the color or the pen chosen to make edits (for what it’s worth, green is the best. Purple is good too.)
    Try Bajillions of fonts, lots and lots for free. Makes me feel better about my words.

  18. Also – (sorry 2nd comment)
    SUPER EXCITED to see the new book on shelves and the fact that you have it for it’s little look over means that time is coming sooner. So Yay!
    I’ve always disliked using the “track changes” function in Word. Seemed unnecessarily complicated. Paper/pencil is definitely better, IMHO.
    I’ll stop talking now and go obsess about the scarf I really really love and am looking forward to finishing, maybe tonight.

  19. Being a copyeditor is a weird job too. I haven’t done it in years, but I decided a long time ago that it’s not something I’d want to do electronically. (And I do my current job as a library cataloger on a computer all day!) There’s just something very personal about suggesting changes to another person’s writing that makes what you describe inappropriate IMHO. Chin up! It’s going to be a great book, and I can’t wait!

  20. I understand what you are saying about the impersonality of this kind of editing system v. handwriting. I suspect that your essential personality will not be repressed by the new system and will eventually break loose and you will feel more free to comment as you get used to it. I just retired from teaching, and I found that if I wanted students to actually read and edit their papers, I needed to use the Word editing process. I merely used the comments part because I wanted the changes to be theirs, rather than mine, but it worked well with them.
    That said, I am an American reader. If I read a book by a British or Canadian writer, I expect to see the differences in spelling and sometimes vocabulary. As long as the author does not go so far as Joseph’s Yorkshire dialect in Wuthering Heights, I am fine with it. And even then, I accept that Bronte has him speak that way for a purpose. That’s part of the charm of reading a book written by someone from a different culture. I find it rather insulting that an American publisher would feel it necessary to make you change those spellings. I hope they never get near Dickens or Jane Austen!

  21. I can see your point about it being impersonal on a computer and it really does take on a different meaning. I do want to chime in with my opinion on the spelling of things though. The different and not incorrect spellings that you use are part of the charm of it all and remind me that we are not always in the right of it as Americans just because we think it. Hold strong, it is your baby.

  22. I like ellipses too… and I use them probably more that I ought to… at least from a grammatical perspective.
    I agree with you. I do a lot of writing and there is something better about paper. I don’t even like editing stuff from my staff electronically because it seems mean. And, quite frankly, all the edit functions seem tedious… I get lost in what to add (note, comment, highlight, &c) that I sometimes lose the train of thought that I wanted to put in a comment.

  23. For whatever reason, I prefer the spelling “grey” to “gray”. I’ve lived in Maine (America) my entire life so I can’t explain this idiosyncrasy of mine, but there you go… Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I LOVE using the word whilst. 🙂

  24. I’m with Jennifer on Harry Potter. Translating to American? Give me a break! Let our US children learn to be a little less insular! As for typed comments–yes, I’m going through the same with my current Masters thesis, only the comments are little sticky notes in .PDF format, which does have one advantage over the Word way–(may hangup is –)and that is that I don’t accept/reject because I make the suggested changes in my Word copy while the commented .PDF stays intact. I agree it’s very hard to make comments back, or even for my advisor to make comments rather than changes. I like red pen better, too.

  25. I love hand written notes. A message in pink glitter gel ink is far different than one in sharpie and seeing that difference on paper means something. How can you know the mood of the writer and the feeling behind the words with only a font?

  26. Fight for your spelling. I count on the differences between american english and real english! I don’t care for change either and applaud your ability to adjust to electronic edits. can’t wait for the finished product.

  27. I don’t know if it makes you feel any better, but I’m an editor that uses Word’s track changes feature and I don’t like it much either. I’ve been doing it over 10 years and I still prefer to review/read text on pages.

  28. I’m with the paper and personal pen, the different spellings, the more the better. My work requires a lot of record-keeping, some letters, and such. The more complex, emotionally draining, or just tricky, the more I move from computer to paper; from stray whatever-pen to fountain pen to pencil. And I second the request for comments so your editor keeps hearing your voice; a good editor gets that and lets it shine through. And we all want to hear more of it.

  29. I’m with the paper and personal pen, the different spellings, the more the better. My work requires a lot of record-keeping, some letters, and such. The more complex, emotionally draining, or just tricky, the more I move from computer to paper; from stray whatever-pen to fountain pen to pencil. And I second the request for comments so your editor keeps hearing your voice; a good editor gets that and lets it shine through. And we all want to hear more of it.

  30. I write for a legal encyclopedia, which is every bit as thrilling as it sounds. I do my first round of work on the electronic file, but I always edit on paper (with my feet up on my desk and my coffee nearby). It lets me see more of the material at once, I can flip back and forth between pages faster, and it gives me a slightly different perspective on the manuscript. To minimize waste, I use the smallest font I can comfortably see, print in multiple columns, and use both sides of the paper, but I don’t anticipate going fully electronic.

  31. Where I come from, a mum is a flower or a word, as in “mum’s the word”. That said, it’s unfortunate that you editor is Americanizing your English. It feels so enriching to read your alternate spellings and turns of phrases.

  32. I’m not sure I understand the need to Americanize your spelling. It seems disingenuous, somehow.
    Another commenter mentioned the Picard phenomenon. I suggest watching Highlander: the juxtoposition of a Scot (with a strong Scottish accent) playing an Egyptian who lived in Spain, having a conversation with a Swiss actor (with accompanying Suisse-French accent), playing a Scottish clansman… That’s something to behold.
    I’m a professional editor (as are apparently many of my fellow commenters), and I firmly agree with Dorothy Sayers who wrote, “Editors are ghouls and cannibals.” Our job is to be picky. I say, stand your ground.

  33. More fonts might help, act5ually, and even an emoticon or 5. Because you are right; as efficient and eco-friendly as the change it there is something lost in translation between handwritten exchanges and bit and byte-erasure.

  34. I vote to keep the non-American spelling. I agree that handwritten notes are much friendlier and more fun to deal with; but then I still write letters with a dip pen and bottles of ink. Many different colors and handmade paper for letters mostly.

  35. Let us know who the editor is and we’ll write to support YOUR editing. Your readers (at least 99% of us) KNOW that you’re Canadian and expect and enjoy your Canadian spellings/colloquialisms. Don’t let the editor continue the “American Bully” sterotype! Everyone in the world doesn’t have to be the same. (On the other hand, we should be grateful that Sarah Palin isn’t an editor!) Can’t wait for the new book.

  36. I also vote for the tablet/stylus setup. My daughter has one and loves it. Also, I’m an American but it’s “colour” (because my 8th grade art teacher said so) and it’s “grey” just because it is!

  37. Got to weigh in and say – I wish they would leave your spellings alone! People who are going to read your books know you are Canadian and that your English isn’t the same as ours in the U.S. You DEFINITELY have to hold firm on Mum – you are right you get to choose how you refer to your own mother! BTW I am a big ellipses (and dash) user too… I enjoy that about your postings that you use the ellipses as frequently as I do!

  38. Did we ever figure out which grey/gray belonged to which country? I love it when my children come across colour and try to tell me it’s spelled wrong. I get to throw a little education at them they don’t get at school. I get to ask them , are you sure that isn’t a correct spelling of the word? I also have the oppertunity to get them thinking about the person that wrote the book. Where did this person come from? What do you think this person sounds like? Do you think this person could be silly or serious?
    I dont think you should lose the paper altogether. In the future someone is going to stumble upon your manuscripts. Those manuscripts will tell the finder about you. Please dont lose that.

  39. I like footnotes for edits or other comments, rather than Word’s rather than track changes and add comment features. You can have entire conversations in the footnotes, and format them colour-coded. It feels more like a sticky-note to me than “accept/reject/comment”. Keep up the side-conversation with the editor. It’s too easy for any editor to forget your unique voice while editing it to follow the standard rules.

  40. As an aspiring writer, I love hearing about your edits and what you go through with your manuscripts.
    Hang tough – your Canadian spelling is not going to stop anyone from buying/enjoying your books. I tend to spell color/colour, grey/gray, honor/honour both ways which thoroughly annoyed my teachers in school.
    I pre-ordered the new book on Amazon last week while purchasing a few other things. So tell your editor I don’t care about those petty things, but prefer your Canadian way. After all, we all know you’re Canadian, and you don’t need to try to pretend to be from the States to sell us books. I’d rather that the book was in YOUR words, not ours or your editor’s.

  41. As an aspiring writer, I love hearing about your edits and what you go through with your manuscripts.
    Hang tough – your Canadian spelling is not going to stop anyone from buying/enjoying your books. I tend to spell color/colour, grey/gray, honor/honour both ways which thoroughly annoyed my teachers in school.
    I pre-ordered the new book on Amazon last week while purchasing a few other things. So tell your editor I don’t care about those petty things, but prefer your Canadian way. After all, we all know you’re Canadian, and you don’t need to try to pretend to be from the States to sell us books. I’d rather that the book was in YOUR words, not ours or your editor’s.

  42. I now live in the US and constantly battle with US spellings whilst writing, but wanted to let you know I am so looking forward to your book – I never get in a lift without laughing (sorry) when I think about you dropping your yarn into the gap!!!!! Can’t wait!

  43. I think you should fight for your spellings – they are correct – it is who you are and where you are from. This book is not by Stephanie translated by … – it is by you. We do not live in a homogenous world and we should not try to make it one. Just think how boring if everyone and everything was the same. We should relish our differences.

  44. Stand up for your spellings. I think Americans can take the head rush we get when we see the letter ‘u’ in honor and color. As for ‘mum’ why should that ever be changed? We all call our mothers various names based on personal preference or family tradition. My husband still called his mother ‘Mommy’ when we met at 20. My sister is ‘Mama’ to her son. My mother is either ‘Mom’ or ‘Mum”, and in stores, to get just her attention, occasionally ‘Woman’.
    I have a corollary to the Piccard/Highlander accent problem: The curious British accent of all ancient Greeks and Romans in TV and movies. Is it Shakespeare’s fault? Or just a need to point them out as “other”? And how surreal is it for people in Britain?

  45. I edit academic articles for friends occasionally, and the “track changes” and notes features can actually lend themselves to conversations in something of the same way–you just have to get over the sense that if someone types something it means more. It takes me about 1/3 the time to type that it does to write…so there are all kinds of silly little notes that I wouldn’t care enough about to write out by hand, but that when I’m typing, hey, why not?

  46. I’ll bet your editor just uses spell check for those so-called errors. Tell ’em to add the Canadian/English versions to their spell check dictionary. As a US reader, I want to hear YOUR voice … not the editor’s.

  47. I just learned how to use that part of Word last term and I must agree it does seem very permanent and not very friendly. I can’t imagine having my thoughts edited by someone else when I have enough trouble editing what I’m thinking before I say it out loud, lol.
    I’d also like to say I think they should leave your English English alone. Personally I find colour to be so much more colourful then just plain color. Besides they should look at it as promoting diversity within English. 🙂

  48. And, if you don;t use mail, I’m assuming that it is done electronically, which means you have a lot less of those times where you lie there and think that they might not like it.
    I love your various glimpses into a writer’s lifestyle, they’re so educational.

  49. Hang firm on the Canadian spellings, Americans need to get used to it. As someone who’s read a lot of British literature, what I like most is the voice of the author and the way they spell is as important as the way they turn a phrase. Enough bastardization! Give me some colour!

  50. I think I understand what you’re saying here. I’m going through something similar with my tech editor on the patterns I’m writing, and we’ve found that we can use the post-it note function in acrobat to put in notes rather than just sweeping changes. It seems more friendly because it’s named post-it note somehow, and has made the process less adversarial feeling.
    Just doing the plain edits does, sometimes, feel like you’re just erasing the other person. Disconcerting.

  51. funny — we are having this discussion in our office right now (should we go to electronic review of staff reports or stay with the paper). Thanks for some additional good points to think about, and yes, my co-workers are now used to me using knitting metaphors in the office!

  52. Please…please….please – don’t let them take your colour, mum, or honour out! Let’s keep English diverse and not just vanilla!

  53. I Love the ‘U’ in Canadian English, although to me Grey is a name and Gray is a coloUr. :^) I am also addicted to semi-colons; they are my replacement for a period (right before I add a pair of ellipse)!
    Oh and hand-writing fonts? check this out:

  54. I love my dead trees even though I have a lot of books on my ereader (I love my convenience, though I find the lack of book feel occasionally disturbing). It is hard being environmentally responsible when paper feels so good.

  55. Absolutely. Handwriting adds meaning to writing, just as body language adds meaning to conversation. I totally agree.
    I’ll also go to the mat for “grey” over “gray,” even though I’m an American and always will be. I’m also a Tolkien fan, and Gandalf was Grey, not Gray.

  56. I love when you write colour. It’s so refreshing! I think the newness of this will fade. But more importantly, I’m excited for your book! I totally caught myself before publishing this saying I was excited for your boob. Whew. Crisis averted.

  57. I have a kindle, and I love it and I think it’s the wave of the future, but I still love the feel of a book in my hand, just as you miss the feel of the manuscript and pen/pencil in your hand. It IS more personal, more real, I guess. BTW can’t wait to read your book!

  58. I am not a writer or from Canada, but I agree with you totally. I find myself, using different fonts, bold, italic, underlines and emoticons to try and get my point across when I have to use the computer to communicate something I’m passionate about – and if it were a book I had written, I’d be NUTS. As far as your spelling – I am US born and bred – but I TOTALLY wish they would leave it the way you WROTE it! You write similar to the way you talk, which makes you unique and I hate that they make you change it! FIGHT back Steph! 😉 Can’t wait to read the new book!

  59. I completely share your sentiments, though I confess I’ve never drawn an alligator on a ms. (I’ll have to consider that in the future, should it seem appropriate.) In the final stages of my doctorate, my advisor and I are communicating exclusively through Word’s track changes function and email. I too find it frustrating. I get more upset by seeing his comments in Word than I ever did on paper, because it does seem like “wow, that must’ve been a big deal to him or he wouldn’t have taken the time to say it.” So I blow little edits out of proportion. On the other hand, I don’t have to wait for the USPS to send my draft all the way across the country and potentially lose it in the process. So, that’s a plus. Just a plus with a cost associated with it. Good luck with the edits!

  60. As far as I am concerned grey IS the correct spelling, no matter what your editor or my spell checker say. And I am pure American, through and through. Therefore I proclaim proudly that my hair is going GREY!

  61. I’m an American who spells all of those sample words minus the u and I have to say that I think the editor/publisher are wrong to change your spelling. In this day and age of broad internet access to international designers I’ve become accustomed to seeing words spelled in a variety of ways depending on the designer’s country of origin. Personally to me it is sort of like a written vocal accent. Are they also changing whole words & phrases to American English terms to further their attempt to homogenize your vocabulary?
    I vote that you treat the virtual sticky notes the same way you would the handwritten notes and take the time to add your own comments rather than simply clicking accept/reject.

  62. I’m from the US midwest, and i like your spellings! To me they make a book about knitting (and knitting, itself) feel more cozy, warm, and like something to have Earl Grey with. (yes, i know i ended with a preposition, and i like not capitalizing every time. You have your quirks, i have mine. 🙂 )
    If you want to make digital editing more personal, you could try inserting a text box, with or without a background ‘fill’. You could use a script font for those, or IMPACT for scary block letters, and just use Times for editions within the text.

  63. I’m an American who grew up in Europe reading British children’s books… so many of the British spellings look correct to me! I drove my British mentor nuts when he had to read my scientific manuscripts and change every instance of cell signalling to signaling to submit to American journals!

  64. Love the Canadian/British spellings – in middle school I would frequently argue with my teachers over the word ‘grey’ in particular (and I always won). I read a lot of British literature, and ‘grey’ is so much more evocative than ‘gray’. Surely your readers are smart enough to figure it out!

  65. God forbid we who speak American English (which is really US English, since there are a LOT of countries in the Americas) actually learn some English English or Canadian English. I use center, but also theatre. We need to stop reinforcing the idea that Different is Wrong.
    I grew up in the States, and still live there, and yes, “mum” and “mom” are totally different things! I called my mother “mom” growing up, but after spending a few years in Northern Ireland and England, I definitely prefer “mum.”

  66. Thanks for sharing the editing process. I love the ellipse…the pearl necklace of the written word. Fling in some extras! Your blog readers are quite familiar with your Canadian spelling. Why would this be an issue to readers of your books? Silly American publisher.
    I can’t wait for publication. Will there be a Kindle edition?

  67. It’s funny. I’m spending my days changing UK to US spelling and punctuation–not because these are mistakes, but because I am required to do so as a matter of house style (this goes for ellipses too). Since it’s not my choice, I simply notify the author of that house style in the style sheet, and would never write a note about it in the file. I only write comments when the change I’m suggesting might potentially change meaning. Other than that, the rule is “If it’s not wrong, don’t fix it.”
    What you say makes me realize that personal notes sometimes can make us feel we can have influence in areas where we cannot. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing–probably it’s a very good thing, and your editor is probably being kind by writing those little notes. But I bet it does speed up the process in-house when the issues that aren’t really up for discussion are taken care of impersonally. And in my recent experience, speeding things up is the way of publishing. Harsh.
    On the track changes point–it can sometimes feel better to look at the file in “Final” view, or with the tracked changes hidden, so you can get a sense of the edited writing without all the clutter. If you have a second screen you can have the changes showing on one screen and the same page open with the changes hidden on the other. This is also very useful for drafting your own writing.
    Looking forward to the book!

  68. Did you know that you can turn your handwriting into a font? This might be a good thing for writers and editors to do, to make the whole online editing thing a bit more – friendly! Google “custom fonts handwriting” if you’re interested.

  69. If you really want to write on your manuscript in word, go out and spend 75 ish bucks on a tablet. Honestly, it’s the best money I ever spent (and you can even write on top of word documents). It’s possibly the most amazing thing that has made such a difference in my world. I can hand write on my computer.
    There. Problem solved:)
    ps: make sure you get a bamboo tablet from wacom.

  70. I’m back. I’ve thought on this and I think it’s a little insulting now. Does your editor think Americans won’t be able to comprehend ‘colour’? Will we be completely stumped by ‘grey’? BTW, I’ve pre-ordered and can’t wait!

  71. Pestered grad student here, de-lurking from your wonderful blog because I feel your pain. I adore ellipses, but I recognize that they have no place in scientific writing. However, I am in a knock-’em-out fight with a committee member over both long sentences and semicolons. Especially the semicolons.
    Also, as long as I’m commenting, thank you for inspiring me to knit both more often and more difficult things…and is your daughter still considering marine biology (if indeed she ever really was)? I highly recommend it as a career choice.

  72. Well, I think we should all just adopt ‘colour’ as the word. I’ve always called my mum, mum and I never lived further north than SW Ohio. Actually grew up in TX, but my mum is from PA and that’s what they say.
    But the point is, if all these knitters could change the look of medicine through Doctors without Borders, just think what we could do with a little thing like a word.

  73. Your comments about color/colour, gray/grey, etc, remind me of JRR Tolkien’s battle over “The Lord of the Rings”. When the first book was published, the printers changed “dwarves” to “dwarfs”, “further” to “farther” and numerous other changes. Tolkien made a fuss and his spellings were put back as he wanted.
    I checked my copies of LotR and even the earliest one printed in the States (1965) says “grey”, not “gray”. (I’m partial to “grey” myself). A quick perusal of books by British authors – Elizabeth George, Georgette Heyer and Jerome K. Jerome – revealed the British spelling was used, even though the books were published in USA. I say fight for your spelling!

  74. As an American whoose state abuts Canada…and who likes to visit Canada…..I think it would be _lovely_ if the U.S. editor let your Canadian freak flag fly with your spelling. Vive le difference !

  75. As a guaranteed purchaser of said book (and an American), I can say that I am rather disappointed in losing the flavor of these words through editing, since their particular spellings are a part of the you that we all love!!

  76. As a font professional, please, not more fonts. I think your writing style is lovely and you definitely don’t need to hide behind a font.

  77. I, for one, have always thought life would be easier if there was a sarcasm font. It would convey so much more. Sometimes italics just don’t cut it.

  78. I really, really prefer the Canadian spelling of ALL of those words! As a matter of fact, as a secretary, I would find myself arguing with people that it was a better way to spell them! (I was much younger then.) Sounds to me like they took some of your fun away with the electronic file editing. You should go ahead and be your funny self.

  79. I for one fervently believe you should be granted your own country’s spelling in your own book. It’s your voice. Reading something from you with American spellings would leap off the page in a wild look-at-me distraction, as if the publisher were announcing they were taking over here.
    I so hope they leave grey colours the way they should look in black and white type.
    As for the change in manuscript edits–that would be hard. How could one not prefer the personal, handwritten back-and-forth? It’s like hearing the inflections in a voice.

  80. I can never remember which is right (or American even though I’ve always been American), grey or gray, so I avoid the word altogether and use off-black, which creates even more confusion in everyone but me. Personally, I think an extra “u” here or there is harmless and an editor, even an American one, should realize anyone with enough snap to pick up a book and read would not be bothered by the “u.” And . . . ellipses are my favorite punctuation–followed closely by dashes, I find their misuse or overuse less offensive than the misused there their they’re or bad a bad to, too, two. Oh look, I’ve rambled too.

  81. Stephanie, for what it’s worth, I’m an (American) copy editor (newspaper, not book publishing) and I wouldn’t push you on mum/mom. That’s just nit-picking!!

  82. Yes. It is a weird job. You do it really well, however, so I hope you will persevere through the nasty bits of the process (like nightmares about lost scripts etc.). I need the laughter and philosophy – especially in midwinter!

  83. Well, being a US citizen, and having only been to BC, Canada once.. take it for what it’s worth: US publisher can pound sand when it comes to your spelling.. your readers KNOW you are canadian, and we EXPECT to see your “funny” spelling of colour and whatnot… tell that publisher to not mess with our little harlot, or we may tie her up in yarn (i’ll use the A-word); and poke her with DPNs.. and make sure she knows this is not the same type of “poke” as used on FaceBook.. so, there.

  84. I see it as a mark of respect that they would have left your spelling. As you so rightly say, it’s not wrong (we use the same spelling here in Australia), and reflects the richness of your heritage and who you are.

  85. My brother and I were born and raised in America, as were both of our parents, but both us use the Canadian/British spelling for certain words. Grey and Gray convey different shades to me, and the extra “u” conveys a different feel when I read things. I’m quirky that way though.
    I tend to overuse commas.

  86. Steph, I know it’s an American publisher, but I really do wish they’d go with the flow a bit more. Taking the Canadian spellings out of the book always make them feel a little off to me. I love the blog and the Canadian spellings are ‘you’ to me. The American spellings just aren’t ‘you.’

  87. There is a very real change between what you write by hand and what you type. I learned this in an intensive 2-year creative writing program, when I underwent a transition between handwritten and typing. The end product of each method was vastly different, and my thought process was different during each. Similarly, today in the office world, my colleagues look at me strangely for making handwritten corrections and composing documents by hand.
    Most of my computer work is science related these days, and I am adamant about handwriting anything remotely creative.
    So you’re not crazy, and there’s a real reason book editors have been such long hold-outs on making hard copy corrections — I think they’ve understood the difference too, and it’s only the matter of economy and efficiency that’s finally brought them into the world of electronic editing.

  88. First, spell checkers/grammar checkers are not “always” right.
    But I agree. While I love the convenience of writing/editing on the computer, I think it is ever so much expressive and less formal when you actually make marks on paper. And, from one of the first tips I learned in technical writing, all editing should be done in something other than red (because sometimes, it looks like the manuscript won’t survive!).

  89. When I was in 6th grade I had a perfectly evil woman for a teacher. To get back at her I used to use the British spellings of words on spelling tests and the like. Since they weren’t wrong she couldn’t take off any points. Drove her crazy which was exactly what I wanted.

  90. I know how you feel. I learned to spell in Canada- and all through my schooling in America, I got it “wrong”.
    If only paper didn’t use trees… There’s something special about the personal touch of pen and paper.

  91. I’m with the folks who have read so much British literature that colour and honour don’t look wrong at all to me. And I’m still a little pissed off at being bounced from the 5th grade spelling bee because I used the British spelling judgement instead of the American judgment (which *still and always* looks wrong to me).
    However on grey/gray, I haven’t noticed anyone saying this- I’ve always thought of grey and gray as different colors. In my mind’s eye, grey is pale, almost silvery like fog, while gray is darker. Is this just a personal idiosyncrasy, or do other commenters have this association as well? O Blog, what say you?

  92. You know, you can make a font from your handwriting 🙂 Would you feel better then? (I prefer the anglicized spellings to the americanized. Gray just looks wrong)

  93. The people who read your blog read your books and we do not appreciate a publisher who changes who you are on the page. We have NO desire to read a translation, we (should) demand the original.
    The book is not printed yet. Let’s demand it be done properly! And if not, well you have a good enough sales track record – maybe you could get another publisher?

  94. I’m so with you on the MUM thing. I am British and Canadian and I am like you on the American spelling – I can recognise that the Americans do it differently, that is their prerogative, as long as they don’t impose it on me!
    But I have been seriously annoyed a couple of times reading British books (esp. children’s ones, but also some popular fiction) – and finding I was reading an Americanised version, and they had “corrected” the spelling of Mum. They have some British kid going “Bloody hell” in one breath and then “Mom” in the next.
    I think Americans are actually smart enough to handle the fact that Brits (and many Canadians) call their mums mum. Either they know it already and it doesn’t bother them, or reading this book can be their chance to learn it.

  95. This is interesting. I’m a freelance copyeditor, and work entirely via electronic files nowadays. Electronic editing does have its advantages (being able to highlight every single ellipses with a single command, for example. Ahem.), although I hate staring at the screen all day, but I had never considered its effect on the authors.
    I’ll echo what other posters have said — keep making your comments and notes. It’ll help your editor understand you, if it’s a new relationship, and will remind her if not. Electronic seems less permanent to me, perhaps because I’ve been working that way so long. Hard copy: now, that’s for keeps!

  96. As long as the spelling is consistent and correct, and true to the writer’s nationality, why shouldn’t Canadian English be fine? I’m not sure why your publisher is pushing the American spelling.
    Except maybe this reason: some Americans use British/Canadian spelling because they think it makes them seem worldly & sophisticated. (Less vulgar than their fellow Americans, anyway.) They don’t realize that fake Britishness looks and sounds poncy. Ridiculous. Pathetic.
    That doesn’t explain why your publisher won’t give us credit for knowing you’re Canadian, not an American with an inferiority complex!
    Whatever. Getting paid to write about what you love is sweet, no matter how you spell the coloUr green. Greene?

  97. I was thinking that maybe the editor just had used an American Dictionary in Word and it made those changes automatically. However, I noticed that our version at work lets me pick a custom dictionary to use and one of those options is English(Canadian). I’m not sue it much matters how those words are spelled, unless you as the writer need them spelled a certain way. As long as they aren’t wrong – because I hate misspellings in printed texts – it shouldn’t really matter so good for you willing to be the bigger person and only fight for those that matter most.

  98. I wish that American publishers would have more faith in the intelligence of American readers and allow us to put two and two together – Canadian author, Canadian/English spelling. Plus – I LOVE those extra ‘u’s in colour, honour, favour…LOVE them. And gray looks lame and denotes a wane sort of colour whereas grey indicates a stately and sublime shade… And the lonely ‘l’ in American woolen just seems cruel, add in the second and it becomes a word with a whole world of it’s own to exist in.
    Obviously my years reading English authors have warped my American mind…and I spend too much time considering how I feel looking at printed words. (Please note I live in fear of developing a muddy accent now that I live in NZ – my Seattle sound is just fine and I want to keep it.)

  99. I think it’s a little insulting of your editor to think we Americans can’t take an additional “u” in some words. I can’t think of any spelling you use that would confuse us. I’m all for hearing your voice not some Americanized version of you. Can you imagine what Shakespeare would “sound” like with this treatment? Yikes!

  100. As an Australian I encourage you to hang on to the Canadian/British/Australian spelling. We like it too.

  101. I’m another editor, chiming in:
    I find that I actually make MORE changes in Track Changes than I do working on paper. If I change my mind later, it’s easy to reject my own electronic change, whereas *erasing* – oy vey!
    But it is a delicate art to devise comments/questions in an electronic file that convey just the right sense, especially when the sense is on of firmness but without a snippy intent. I empathize.
    Also, this is entirely personal, but I think of grey and gray as two different colors. In my mind, grey is a pale, cloudy-day sort of color; gray is the color of a Russian Blue kitten.

  102. Oh, I am so with you on the spelling. And, my mother was a “mummy” and I am a “mum” and that’s what happens when you were born in England. Mom sounds incorrect to me(lol). By the way, all hail the ellipses(how else do you make things clear?).

  103. I am actively combating my fondness for ellipses. I realized that I use them when I make a bold statement but want to back pedal. They are a way of softening a statement, of being less “bitchy”. I haven’t done a study, but I’d bet women are more apt to abuse ellipses than men.

  104. I work for a major American corporation. Everything is electornic. We use track changes frequently. I tend to make more comments electronically as it would take more time to write it by hand. Perhaps that is what your editor is doing.
    As for the spelling….as you’re the author and you’re Canadian, should be English, not American spelling. All your fans know this!

  105. As an American reader, I would prefer it if your writing was spelled the way YOU would spell it, not the way I would spell it. You are the writer and the work should reflect you. Surely we Americans are smart enough to be able to figure out the difference between words like color and colour?

  106. As a Brit living in the USA, reading the US versions of the Harry Potter books (particularly the earlier ones) was odd. The spelling was OK, but I was immersed in the British world of the book, so when I ran across “chips” for “crisps” or “soccer” for “football”, I was pulled right out of the book. I’m sure US children could have coped and the idiosyncrasies would have helped them realize that not all English speaking cultures are the same.
    PS. Capt Picard in Star Trek didn’t have any hints of a Scottish accent. It was a received English pronunciation (RP) with slight hints of Northern English. Northern English is very different to RP, hence a lot of people think it’s Scottish or Irish (or Australian in my case – go figure). But it’s really not the same, I promise.

  107. Here’s my two cents worth as an American. There is more than one way to spell some words and grammar is in the eye of the beholder. You are Canadian!!! Your editor needs to learn how the rest of the English speaking world writes. And please, please don’t give up your voice which includes ellipses. You are a published author be difficult if need be!

  108. I spell properly too despite living my entire life a commuter rail ticket away from NYC (and a short time spent in Brooklyn). It has caused me no small amount of frustration over the years. I’ve finally decided that since I’m technically an adult, unless I’m told specifically otherwise I’m going to spell my way. All my spell checking software is now set to Canadian English. I’m not kidding.
    I work as/in/for tech and I prefer edits by hand. because, yes, sometimes an alligator is all that will illustrate the point.
    Should we introduce your editor to wingdings?

  109. I can’t believe I’m commenting twice in one day (I hardly ever comment at all). Did you know that Twist Collective allows designers to choose American or British/Canadian spelling? You only have to be consistent with what you choose. Thank you, Kate Gilbert!

  110. Steph,
    When I read an author, I want to get the “real thing”. In your case that means a Canadian writer, complete with English spellings. This editing for American spellings is a “dumbing down” because the editors think we readers are really stupid. How do they propose to publish the classics or anything older that 2 minutes ago?
    I also suffer from bouts of ellipses. Since what you are writing is humor, wouldn’t oddnesses of whatever kind, spelling, punctuation, syntax, be OK as long as it is funny? Even making up a word like oddnesses? Stand-up comedians don’t speak the Queen’s English, do they?
    When I need to “resolve” too many ellipses, I think about the “order” of the thoughts. An ellipsis is often necessary because it is allowing things to be presented out of the natural order. Re-ordering the thoughts may help remove the ellipsis. Unless, of course, it was done deliberately that way for comedic effect, in which case, I say, leave it in! (I’m sure your editor would hate a sentence with 4 commas.)
    Julie in San Diego

  111. To RobinH@3:52
    I think of grey and gray as different colors also. I think of “grey” as having blue undertones and “gray” as being darker, with yellowish undertones.

  112. I’m American, but I often use the spelling ‘grey’. I think you should be able to spell your words any way you want… it’s your book, your way of writing is equally valid, and as other commenters have said, it’s a little offensive to suggest that Americans wouldn’t understand your spelling! We should have the right to read the real you! Ugh.

  113. I, too, ride the editing train for a living, and notes in Word are awfully impersonal. I find myself making them longer and injecting my personality in them so I don’t seem like a total beast. Isn’t it strange that when somebody makes a suggestion through typing that we immediately assume that they were angry when making it?

  114. Given that my partner is British and we’re moving to England this year, I’ve long thought it was a good thing that I not only accept but frequently default to and prefer the English (as opposed to American English) spelling/pronounciation of things. And I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in that. (And I am ‘Mum’, more because I hate how ‘Mom’ sounds with my northern Ohio accent…)*
    I, too, have the HP series as published by Bloomsbury (except book four, which is the Canadian print!); I, too, vastly prefer the feel of paper under my fingers to keys (or a flat screen, though I do heart my iPad); I, too, appreciate hearing others’ thoughts about what I’ve written but frequently wrote it that way for a reason so LEAVE IT; I, too, love Steph’s voice and hope her editor appreciates that it is unique and perhaps quirky and that is why we love it.
    *And anyone who says that punctuation, be it parentheticals, elipses, colons (semi- or otherwise) or footnotes is passe, unnecessary or wrong… Well, they just don’t know what they’re missing, do they?

  115. I definitely understand what you’re saying. We all suffer from that: in e-mail, versus a handwritten note or letter, from the ‘olden’ days, and in business, when we sent e-mails rather than talk on the phone. Also, everything is speeded up, for better or ill. I think it’s helped the knitting boom!

  116. Being a writer is a weird job because you are trying to get someone to see inside your head through the use of words. It is a creative thing just as knitting is. I just know as things are knitted it is harder to undo it. Writing is altered with just a slash of someones pen and then it is made possibly into something different than original intent. I get it.

  117. I’ve worked w/ Track Changes in Word in my work as an editor, and I know how you feel. It’s very different using typed notes in a box on a computer screen than using a read pen in the margins w/ notes.
    And for what it’s worth with the spelling? I think they should allow the Canadian spellings even though it’s a US publisher. It’s not incorrect, it’s Canadian–and you’re a Canadian author. (I might have this opinion because I went to kindergarten and 1st grade in Canada and still write grey, colour and honour…)

  118. I can’t agree more about that editing/track changes program–I hatehateHate it (and have to use it frequently). I suppose I’ll admit that in some cases it’s more efficient, but then none of the verbiage I’m editing is a book like yours. Please!! stand your ground on your spelling. I’ll bet most of your readers very much appreciate seeing the difference, and the rest just haven’t thought about it yet!!

  119. I’m an editor who uses Track Changes, and I can assure you that long conversations or arguments are still possible via the “comment” box, even if you lose the handwriting aspect. You just have to get used to it. After a couple of rounds, it’ll feel more natural.
    Also, I’d really like to know why the alligator was necessary. Not that I’m doubting you — I’m just too curious for my own good.

  120. We want to read your books because we read your blog. We read your blog because we like your flavour of writing. We like your flavour of writing, because it’s your voice. We see your u’s and arse and (well, personally) are charmed and know a little more about you, and what makes you YOU. Keep the U! Keep the arse! STET that! …

  121. STET away! Also, as someone who just finished an entire sequence of courses on copyediting I find this entry particularly poignant. It’s still just as friendly as it was in writing, I promise. Also, there is no permanent record, at least not last time I checked 😉

  122. “were you once harmed by a conjunction so that now you’re unfair to them”,
    As someone who has done editing, I have to admit I LOVE that! Made me laugh out loud.
    I understand what you mean by the change from handwritten to type, though. We forget how much more is said besides just the words in handwritten communication.
    Personally, I love regular English as much as American English and don’t see why they have to change it for the American reader. (And yes, I am an American reader. =) ) Everyone else does it differently than us (thanks, Noah Webster): what’s the problem?
    Don’t EVER give up mum. Please.

  123. I know just what you mean about lying awake wondering what That Editor is doing to your words. This week I finished my galley edits for my debut mystery novel coming out in May. You’re lucky you get mark-ups. My editor mailed me some paper, but there were no markings on it. I had to read it line by line to figure out what she changed.

  124. I just wanted to mention that I skimmed at least 97 comments and frequently, I had to reread more carefully because I couldn’t figure out what the commenter’s meaning was. I.E. I just read color/colour, honor/honour, etc. My brain didn’t register that they were different words leading to my confusion. I am American. Also, I remember a Cambridge Study where the words were all spelled incorrectly and people were still able to read it because of context. Why would this even be an issue?

  125. Oh my goodness, woman!
    As a professional editor I feel for you, as a professional writer I feel for you, and as a lover of all words English (Canadian, American, AND British versions) I feel for you!
    I have spent the last few years resisting the move to editing on-screen, so I know exactly what you are going through while reading your editor’s little Post-It note comments. Hate it, hate it, hate it…but I am a little bit of a Luddite when it comes to this part of my job. Sigh…

  126. As a French-speaking Canadian who did her grad studies in English and works mostly in English, I’ve always found that whole double spelling very confusing. I always use an online dictionary (in Canadian English – when available) to make sure I don’t keep switching between languages. But, because I’m not a native speaker, people keep correcting my s (changing them into z) assuming that if I made that “mistake”, it’s because that’s how we spell it in French. 🙁
    As for track changes, I’m used to them, although I find it very intimidating when I get back a document that is full of colours because too many things have been changed (like formatting). But one thing that I really enjoy is the comments – I have more room to write long comments using that function than if I want to write them by hand in a margin.
    PS: I had no idea grey could be spelled gray.

  127. I firmly believe that your Canadian spelling should hold for your final draft. You are a Canadian. It is your writing. It is your words — these formed ideas. Let’s educate the Americans! What’s the worst that could happen? Someone thinking you spelled something wrong? You would have caused someone to actively reflect on grammar. Hooray!

  128. What a lot of support for your Canadian spellings!! That tells you a lot doesn’t it? Ask your publisher to read your blog and the comments for today. As a Canadian, I love our spellings…I’m sad that many American spellings are either preferred and accepted as our own. But I can see I am not alone in carrying on with the Canadian spelling! Looking forward to your book,including your Mum, in either language.

  129. Wow, I didn’t realise any publishing houses still sent marked-up printed manuscripts – my whole career I’ve only worked with electronic files. This is a mercy for authors, in my case, because my handwriting is execrable!
    It may be small consolation to know that spelling conventions (not just US versus British English but also the choice of dictionary) are set by the publisher, and may go completely against your editor’s preferences as well. It took me a long, long time to stop grimacing at ‘program’ used instead of ‘programme’, for instance; let’s not mention unspaced ellipses. It’s unlikely that any editor would consider an alternative spelling to be wrong, and absolutely you should push back where the change affects meaning (‘mum’ and ‘mom’) – while your editor may be constrained by the publisher’s editorial style, she may have the discretion to stick up for what you want.
    The corrections process really is a negotiation, regardless of medium, and please trust that most editors see it as a dialogue. I hope that most of the changes to your manuscript are inconsequential and uncontroversial, and that you’re comfortable taking a stand against the rest. Good luck!

  130. I’m American, and I greatly prefer the Canadian/English spellings and grammar to American English. It seems more civilized. I hope your Canadian spelling wins out.

  131. I’m with RobinH about the electronic alligators. And I can hardly wait to read the book!

  132. As an American who has been reading Canadian and English literature all my reading life, I wish American editors would leave the differences alone, and you may tell them that at least some of your American readers feel this way. These differences remind me of your different perspective as I read, and add flavo(u)r to the prose. You are right, it isn’t as if we don’t understand it all. Adding the C and F on degrees of temperature is helpful, though.

  133. Get thee to some chocolate. Eh?! A Canadian can never have too many “eh’s”.
    Looking forward to another fine Canadian piece of literature.
    Just putting it out there…are there many/enough/any Canadian editors/publishers?
    Can we get a book by a Canadian to appear as the ‘weird/wrong/different’ Canadian writer intended it? I’m sure economics are a major factor in all of this, but you are a Canadian through and through and your love for your country is something that noone can dispute; wouldn’t it be nice to convey your love through ‘our’ written word?

  134. I’m voting with those who say keep your own (different) spelling!
    I spent my 12th grade year as an exchange student in South Africa. My 1st essay for my English class there I wrote about being at a branding (I was from Wyoming then). I can now laugh about getting it back with so many red pencil marks for spelling that my eyes filled with tears – of rage, that is. I marched up to the teacher to point out that I had spelled odor, neighbor, humor, etc., correctly!! The teacher looked puzzled for a moment and then said calmly – “Oh yes, I forgot you’re American and spell differently. You must adjust!”
    And I did. While I was there. 🙂

  135. Tell you editors to leave the English/Canadian spelling intact! This American reader likes it. You are a Canadian author and that is what we expect and is part of the charm of your writing. I enjoy reading English authors with the British English, not American.
    My grandchildren call me Nonnie. Would an editor change that to Granny?

  136. As a person who spends a great deal of time on the other end of that process … sorry. I know just how irritating all my comments about commas and spellings alternate to American English and improper use of symbols (yes, even if everyone knows what you really mean) are. I have People To Answer To.
    On the bright side, if my authors are polite and ask nicely, I will absolutely go to the mat for them. Sometimes I don’t win, but I try.
    No one has ever drawn me an alligator, though, and now I’m a little sad about that.

  137. I’m interested in the Mom/Mum issue. I’m an immigrant from England, but my sons were born here in Canada. My younger son had a major run-in with his Grade One teacher here in Ontario who tried to insist he put “Mom” on his Mother’s Day card, because Mum was “wrong”. It’s a somewhat grey area, apparently.
    He won, but not before the school had phoned me about it, and he had shed many tears over his Mother’s Day card!

  138. Maybe you could just tell her to add an introduction (or perhaps a footnote) that says “Please note the author is Canadian and therefore her spelling of some words may be different. It’s not a typo or the work of a crappy editor it’s just different. Deal with it.”
    As to the “track changes” I must say I like them exactly because of the quick click-ability of making the changes. But maybe that’s because I use it for grading papers or when revising papers and not for the process of creative writing. I think you should suggest Word gets some kind of “fun” review comment fonts…like alligators instead of comment balloons. You could always add clip art. 🙂

  139. Please ask your publisher if the Canadian version will be available in Pennsylvania. “Our” Stephanie is lost in translation.

  140. See, even as an American I wouldn’t think of forcing you to change your spelling. I’ve been reading this blog long enough that rarely does a Canadian spelling difference throw me. Personally, I prefer grey over gray 🙂 I can see where some of us stateside might not get a colloquialism or pehaps immediately understand a uniquely Canadian product, but that’s how one learns about and opens oneself up to a different culture.
    The Craft magazine recently posted a graph of typeface moustaches. It’s very charming and there’s more than a few awesome fonts to try out.

  141. Your book,your words,your way of spelling.It’s part of the charm of your books.Your way of spelling is part of who you are.Please don’t change that just because your editor is not Canadian.

  142. I’m just afraid we’ll all end up alone in our houses, efficiently typing to each other.

  143. I so agree with you that the electronic writing/editing business is very different from handwritten on paper communication. So often I find that talking to my sisters on line leads to misunderstandings or hurt feelings, while the same thing said with a voice(definitely) or in writing(also often true) leads to actual communication. Why this is so is a complex topic, many parts of which you have adressed well here. I do love the paper book, letter, magazine. Sigh. (Hate the little smiley faces meant to indicate This Is A Joke! Don’t Be Offended.)

  144. I have a little tablet that plugs into a usb on the computer. My hubby got it for photo editing and it turns out he really doesn’t like it and it also turns out that I do. I have found that it writes in my handwriting and converts it to print on the screen. Very nice it lets me feel like I’m WRITING a comment. There is also a way to have your own handwriting converted to a font for your word program and then it appears as though you wrote it. Just thoughts for the future for ya.

  145. All of us Americans know your Canadian – but Mum should be acceptable anywhere. You’re Canadian – that’s who you are and how you, as a Canadian spell. As for the new editing process, I liked someone’s suggestion to add your comments in a separate document. At least you’d get your thoughts out there.

  146. I am 66 y/o, but took 4th & 5th Form in Cambridge, Herts, England in the 1950s. I find that the words on the spelling list for those ages/grades/forms I not only spell in the English manner, but also pronounce them in the English manner. In high school, I refused to change my spelling from the English spellings and luckily my English language teachers laughed at my stubborness [tenacity is sounds so much nicer] and did not make an issue of it all.
    I still do it…
    You go Lady Stephanie!!!!

  147. As an American who has been reading Canadian, American and English literature all my reading life, I too wish American editors would leave the differences alone, and you may tell them that some of your American readers feel this way. These differences remind us of our different perspective as we read, and add flavour to the prose. You are right, it isn’t as if we don’t understand the words. (yup lifted from above)
    If you’re a Canadian author, and you are, then we should read Canadian speak however it is spelled. Ditto British speak, and etc….
    I miss the differences of published material in the states. The world is not uniform and the world speaks many versions of English.
    My mother was mum, mom, ma, mommy, mummy and MOTHER! She always knew we were calling her and only her!

  148. Although I am from the states, I prefer to read Canadian spelling and idiom when I am reading a Canadian author. I really wish editors and publishers would quit insisting on US standard. Give me grey, colour, theatre and labour please.
    I don’t think there is a knitting reader who would be confused by such spellings. We all read British knitting books and patterns and it isn’t like we would be confused by a reference to a “grey day” or a “warm colour”.

  149. I used to edit business manuals (i.e, boring books) in a past job. We also went from paper to electronic editing. It does suck all the fun out of it. There’s something really fulfilling in marking up text with squiggles and notes. Now I only get to have fun with printed meeting agendas and handouts. Good thing they are full of problems! 🙂
    BTW, I am addicted to elipses, too. Glad to know I’m not the only one…

  150. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in perceiving a different emotional tone between gray and grey.
    Exactly what color it denotes will change for me according to the mood involved.
    However, I remember which country uses which by associating the “a” in gray with America, and the “e” in grey with England.
    There is a distinct difference in meaning between further and farther; it isn’t just a variation in spelling.
    In my opinion, the spelling “judgment” _is_ wrong; it was taught in the 1950s but is nonsense linguistically; dropping the silent e makes the g into a hard g, making the word “jud-guh-ment”.
    By the way, “ellipsis” is the singular, “ellipses” is the plural, and an ellipse is a precise geometric shape, oval but not just any oval.

  151. I love ellipses…and all other forms of punctuation.
    And Stephanie, I love that you spell the way the entire non-US English speaking world does. I find it offensive that the Americans ‘correct’ your perfectly correct English into American. Would they translate Shakespeare?
    Stick up for you language and your culture. Americans can learn to adapt.
    Oh and to the lady that queried Jean-Luc Picard’s English accent, that was because the actor Patrick Stewart IS English. In fact Sir Patrick is a Yorkshireman and should sound like Michael Parkinson, but he speaks with a formalised British accent (what my mother called the BBC voice).
    Please get the publisher to send versions translated into ‘proper’ English to Australia. We have Mums, and grey and colour…and we like it that way.
    PS. I will still buy your books even if your publishers insist on ruining your lovely English prose.

  152. I’m with you, Steph. There is something so freeing about a pencil that one just doesn’t get in typed format. I write for a living (although not books), but when I sit down with my journal, that’s when I feel the most happy, when I get the most ease from writing. I love cursive, and I love how everyone’s handwriting is unique. I love how my writing is ever so closely like my mothers and every so closely like my father’s, and sort of a blend. I love how I can recognize a letter from my grandfather before I even read the sender because it’s in his hand.
    Handwriting is personal. Typing isn’t.
    I also may have a thing for pens…but we won’t tell anyone.

  153. Winnie the Pooh and Paddington the Bear would not be the same characters without the British spellings. Just to name two.

  154. Who IS this elusive “Mom” person, anyway? Have yet to meet one and it always sounds jarring to my ear when I hear that word on TV. I had both a mother and a stepmother, so they were Mummy and Mum just so we could keep them straight.

  155. Color.. colour… It makes no difference to me! You could write in Pig Latin and I would still read (and reread.. and reread..) it. Not that I’m suggesting you should write in Pig Latin *side eye*

  156. I agree there is something coveyed in handwriting you just can’t get from a computer. The misunderstandings in typed text over instant messenger and such prove this too me over and over again. I made a scarves for 2 high school graduates this year. One sent me a thank you note over the net. The other sent me a handwritten card. I have to say I was more touched by the handwritten card.

  157. Ah, yes, writing IS a weird job, one of those jobs that non-writers find difficult to accept actually IS a job, since it can take considerable time before one receives payment for what one has writ.
    Which is where I am, currently, a budding writer who yearns for the delicious horror of being in Phase Three.

  158. You are so funny. I saw the previous comment about the electronic tablet computer thing and now I finally feel like there could be an actual use for them. You could still write and it would be seen. Save trees and still have handwriting. That would be neat!
    I wonder where the differences arose in spellings. It’s interesting to me. Colour vs. color… I mean, I think colour looks cooler. (I’m American.) I have a good friend in Canada who tells me that she just made beautiful knitted “jewellery” and I respond that her “jewelry” is lovely. We don’t get into fights about it. I think “jewellery” is prettier, too.
    Probably what happened was that everyone spelled “colour” wrong for so long that we just eventually dropped the “u”. I have the same theory about “catsup” vs. “ketchup” and live in horror for the day when “your” will become the widely accepted spelling for “you’re” precisely because of all the texting idiots who can’t frigging sit and pay attention long enough in class to get it right. I mean, whatever happened to people wanting to get things right? (And people being smart enough to recognize “right” vs. “different”, which if only most of the world could wrap their brains around that single simple concept, we’d all be better off.)
    Wait. I should have done a Stephanie “Begin Rant” warning before that. I apologize. But I feel your pain in principle. Once I wrote a little article for a local publication. Nothing grand, really. But I sent my document off and when it was published, imagine my horror when towards the end, I saw that the person responsible for putting the article in the paper took it upon herself to “fix” one of my sentences towards the very end of the article. She added a word. I guess she felt I left it out. But I didn’t. It was on purpose. I was making a very strong point in the last paragraph that I had spent the entire article leading up to, and by inserting that word, she CHANGED the entire point of the entire thing. I mean, it made the point the exact OPPOSITE of the one I was trying to make. I was so horrified. I mean, the whole article still made sense. But it wasn’t what I wanted at all. I still feel almost violated when I think about it. I cried and cried about it, and my sweet husband got pretty miffed for me, but alas. It wasn’t something I could change. People told me they really enjoyed the article, then they were sorry because I had to drag them into a 10 minute conversation about how I meant this instead of that and they just kind of nodded and said, “Okay,” and backed calmly away from the desperate, crazy person.
    Okay, there it goes. Sorry for the long comment. But, yeah. I couldn’t stop once I started. ^_^

  159. What bugs me is that an editor of the U.S. would think we’re so ignorant here that we wouldn’t be able to handle the different spelling. For the record, I’ve never left the U.S. but still tend to spell words with the “u” (colour, behaviour, etc). I’ve even been known to yell at my computer for trying to “correct” me. I also tend to use words like “flat” for apartment and “pissed” for drunk (yes, I have many British friends, how can you tell?).
    Most interesting though, is that I work for the Dept of Motor Vehicles here in Connecticut and although we enter “gry” for the color of a car because all cars have 3 letter abbreviations, it prints “grEy” on the registration.

  160. I’m not a writer or an editor. But it is my job to review documents that have been prepared by other people. It just so happens that the documents are primarily data-filled. I have noticed on many many occasions the difference between a written note (or phone call or in-person conversation) versus a typed one. You’re dead-on in the description. The process actually has a lot more hostility and conflict and animosity almost. I’ve developed the habit of picking up the phone the instance the electronic conversation starts to take on a tone of frustration. Hearing each other makes it all better. But it’s true, this wasn’t necessary nearly as much when there was more handwriting.
    I’m wondering how our children are (or will, since mine are still under 5 years old) handling this. Or if the world of email shorthand will allow them to better convey the emotion of their words electronically.

  161. Steph, I am surprised to find that I don’t think you should change the way you spell. It would be different if you were writing for the U.S. exclusively, but you are not. IMHO, you should not change who you are for your editor. Especially because we buy your books to read what *you* say! 🙂 Also, I agree that you could write a separate note summarizing your comments to bring some warmth back to the process. You could scan a handwritten note!

  162. Would your editor respect a petition from your loyal readers to retain your natural spelling and idiom?
    I for one do not want to pretend that you are an American author, any more than I want Dame Judi Bench to sound like a Valley Girl.
    Hang on with tooth and toenail!

  163. I love the different spelling of the same words for each country so I hope the editor allows you to keep the Canadiab spelling in your book. Can hardly wait to see what the title will be this time

  164. I’m a Canadian born in the US, mostly educated here. In all my formal correspondence and writing, I spell in the Canadian style, except for anything ending in “amme” like programme (I’m that old). My US families get US spelling. In the end, I agree with an earlier comment that we all know you’re Canadian and it would be pleasing to see Canadian spelling. How do we stand against spellcheck, that wiggly red underline? For those people I really want to hear my voice, I write long hand.

  165. I’m currently doing some much less formal edit via email, and it’s very unsatisfying. I want to mark up the page (or not) with my proposed changes, and instead I find myself doing battle with my stupid computer and trying to find the correct symbol. Sometimes, if the word(s) is just plain wrong, I delete it and add the correct one (in red). I miss the little “insert” symbol and the little arrows from the bottom of the page, looping up through the writing to include my notes or comments or “Woo hoos!” written in caps at the bottom. I completely feel your pain!

  166. Go for it! Speak and write whatever v ariety of English you like and don’t worry about being consistent between dialects/national variations. I’m married to a Brit, had a peripatetic upbringing between Ontario and Pennsylvania, worked for the British Army in Germany (speaking German and Dutch for them) and people can still, mostly, understand me. Conformity, except in knitting needles (should all be metric, ta!), is blander than mashed potatoes without the salt, butter, and garlic.

  167. Be yourself! Spell it your way! OK, so you accepted all those changes in track changes. What you can do on the next editing round is search for all the words spelled the American English way and replace them with your preferred spelling. Done and done. 🙂 (P.S. I remember going back and forth with my advisors while writing my thesis in track changes. I feel you.)

  168. You are being so polite about this — I have to say that I absolutely HATE using “track changes” (I’m a translator and editor so it comes up fairly often). I have nothing useful to add, just kind of happy for a more public forum to express my annoyance with those yellow text boxes and rows of text in the margin. Ugh!

  169. I’m American and I spell it grey. It IS grey. Gray is wrong, not different….and even though I’m American I know other English speaking countries spell differently, and use different conventions. I resent the American editor/publisher believing I’ll be terminally confused and insisting on having it “our” way. The dumbing down of what was it? I’ve been dumbed. I can’t remember.

  170. As a person of the u.s. i say your books should be written in your language. we all get the drift down here. make them do it your way – tell them your fans say so !

  171. Hi, I’m in Australia and I’m slowly perpetrating my own war on American spelling- I leave my computer set to American English- it’s too fiddly to fix it every time, but every time it tries to tell me I’ve spelt something wrong (with an “s” not a “z” etc.) I add it to the dictionary- and I do it on all the computers that I work on- I plan to very slowly change the world one “add it to dictionary” at a time- mwaaah haaa, haaa, ha!

  172. Steph,
    Aside from being a knitter, I am an American professional technical editor. Whether she uses Word’s “track changes” function or not, your editor is an unsung hero/heroine, dedicated to making you look your very best on paper to your largest audience. Nothing you reject or note is taken personally by a professional. Just saying.

  173. I am an English professor, and I grade essays electronically. I find that I have a harder time learning student names — I used to associate their names with their handwriting, but now that they are all TNR, I’ve lost that. It is also more physically and emotionally satisfying to grade by hand. It’s faster, too.
    Ultimately, I stick with the electronic grading for several reasons: they can read my comments and hopefully improve their writing; I can receive and return papers at any time/day — they get really excited when I tell them they can submit papers at 8:00 in the evening, even though class ist at 12:00; I can easily keep track of student submissions, in case a paper becomes “lost”; and that whole tree thing is a big deal.

  174. I so sympathize. And those above me are right. You think differently when you type than hand-write. Keep making the comments and fight for what you want.
    I love my Mum, but Mo-o-o-om is evoked only by teenagers with rolling of the eyes etc.
    TV/Movie accents: They have been wrong for years for just about everything. All those Italians(Latins) with perfect British. More recently Americans trying to fake European (Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice comes to mind). Though Hugh Laurie does a good American.

  175. Is this a new editor? Do we have to like her? When you write using the Canadian spelling, it’s like hearing YOUR voice, not an impersonal text. Can we start a petition to force this editor person to let you choose the Canadian spellings?

  176. Stephanie, Please stand firm on the spelling issue. SOR I hate it when book publishers and their editors think that we Americans are a bunch of idiots. I refused to purchase the Americanized versions of the Harry Potter series because the publisher decided to change words such as rubbish. I know what rubbish is. Of course it depends on the context. Physical (trash) or verbal (nonsense). If I don’t know the meaning of the word, there’s always the dictionary. Or Google. EOR Thanks for letting me vent. Carry on!

  177. Please consider fighting the fight to maintain Canadian spellings and other characteristics. American publishers are wrong to insist on American spellings. It’s selling the reading public short and doing them a disfavor. Same thing with differing knitting terms like tension and gauge. It’s extremely healthy for readers to understand that there’s an entirely different world out there that they can get some insight into through language. As a reader I’m intelligent enough to figure out what the writer means. Don’t take a great deal of charm as well as education away by making everything fit the same cookie cutter. Ok, getting off my soap box now, but really editors – concentrate on the important stuff in those little boxes – set your spell check for English and get over it.

  178. Ooh I cannot edit on the computer! I am very impressed that you can do an entire book that way!
    So strange that they change your spellings for all editions. I would think that Canadian editions would get Standard English, but the US would get American English. It should be possible, what with technology these days. Not that those of us in the US wouldn’t understand the Standard spellings anyways. So silly.
    Good luck with the rest of the editing! We can’t wait to read the finished version!

  179. Steph, you have Daniel Webster to blame for the difference in how Americans and Canadians spell. In order to help create an American identity, he removed the “u’s” and changed other letters to create a unique American language. Plus he named the dictionary after himself!!

  180. Tell your editor to leave your spellings the way they are. I’m willing to bet that any American who reads colour will know what’s meant. If any have never heard about alternate, but stll correct, spellings, they will know what’s meant but get a little laugh over your ‘mistake’ and they are, after all, humor books. I, myself, spell a lot of words the British way. My spelling was seriously corrupted by having been introduced to British mysteries at a young age.

  181. Love your books. Just bought a Kindle copy of Knitting Rules for my Kindle. Anxiously awaiting your new book. I truly appreciate all the work you put into each of your books. Would you and your publisher ever consider a card format and kindle format for your standard/generic and free patterns?

  182. My face is so red! I’ll post here my apology to Dame Judi DENCH for my misspelling/typo in my previous post.

  183. This post sends me off in many directions — solecisms I have known, weird jobs I have held, brain wiring (did you know that people who have lost the power of speech can sometimes sing, as that apparently travels down a different neural pathway?) — but being simultaneously a writer and an editor, and having worked in the computer biz for (mumble) years, I can tell you that I for one do not in the least resent friendly comments, and that for me editing an electronic document is just a faster, easier (for those of us who type faster than we scribble), more environmentally friendly way of accomplishing the same task.
    I can also tell you that there’s no way the above sentence would ever get by me if someone else had written it.

  184. This whole paperless thing takes some getting used to. My accounting firm has been making noises about going paperless in the tax return process but this year they seem to be really serious about it. The most visible effect is not the lack of paper files lying around but the fact that every single person has a laptop plus two giant monitors on their desk.

  185. It is weird reading about you using the same software I have used every day for 5 years. It is impersonal and sterile, but I add smiley faces when necessary. Then I usually delete that note. 😉 But I work in an office on boring topics that are not a representation of myself. Also, dude, you seriously better fight for mum v. mom. If you called her your “mee maw” I should hope they wouldn’t change that (haha, “raising hope” reference).

  186. I have to agree with your sentiments about the difference felt between writing the comments by hand and typing them into word processing. The determination cannot be expressed through the computer. It can be conveyed through the pressing of pen to skickynote. I empathize. It is totally possible that this phase won’t last long.

  187. Having done editing and having been edited, I have to say that although I love words, and thinking about them, Track Changes has made the process so much faster, and in many ways made writing issues clearer, that I would never go back to pencil/ink. But, like Bextoronto, I make plenty of use of the phone!
    I think your malaise is because of the boxes. And you should try thinking outside them. You should feel free to Comment on the comments. Sabrina, Judith and others suggested adding a separate word doc. On one editing job, the author and I (in quite different time zones) had word docs going back and forth across the Internet entitled “Read this first” or “Read this last”. Those memos clarified intent and meaning, and were very helpful, for us, anyway.
    Also consider that using TC to change “colour” to “color” means that it looks like a correction, but it’s only a change, no doubt based on house style. Still, keep the pressure on about maintaining the integrity of your nation’s language …

  188. oh boy. after my 3 hour conference call on a document review, do I agree with YOU OR WHAT. Time to get off the computer. Just because I did a strikethrough on your text does NOT MEAN I killed your first born child. AUGH! These people know me personally too!!
    off for wine now. sorry.

  189. You may need more fonts — or to lose a little Canadian politeness and use expletives more freely in your little electronic notes defending such Canadianisms as “colourway,” “screech,” and “eh?”.
    And remember to be careful about capitalizing “mum.” I was always taught that, when capitalized, it meant someone’s mother. If it wasn’t, it could very easily be a shortening of “chrysanthemum.” Therefore, a sentence like “My mum is wilting” could have two very different meanings!

  190. I don’t know about other people but I was taught in school the differences between American English and English in other parts of the world. In that case, I don’t know why when something is written in Non-American English they can’t just leave it.
    And someone mentioned that to them “gray” is a color “grey” is a name, I’m the complete opposite. But I’m also the type of person who never uses the work “cream”, I always spell it “creme”

  191. I am currently reading “The Well of Lost Plots” by Jasper Fforde (which is the third Thursday Next book in the series) and I laughed out loud today at the idea that a shortage of the letter ‘U’ could be remedied by removing them from certain words. The idea was to contain it to a certain geographical area and call it a local idiosyncrasy.
    Anyway, if anyone likes books that make you laugh I recommend this series, or anything by Fforde, he is crazy and funny and clever.

  192. I have to agree with Julie in San Diego and others. We read you…and your voice. Fight for it!

  193. I hope your editor takes a few minutes to read the comments of those who will not only be buying your book but will be instrumental in promoting it.
    When I read your books, with Canadian spelling and words intact, I can hear your voice. I like that.
    Editors understand the importance of idioms and geographic based variations when they edit books like Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, or any others flavor. It is those unique elements that give writing part of its rythm and pleasure for the reader. I feel it’s equally important when reading essays or humour (ye4s I am a provincial American and I spell humour and colour as you do ’cause I read a great deal of English Lit. Stick to your guns on this, Steph
    Lana Danaher
    Portland, Oregon

  194. I am as Red, White and Blue as the next knitter, and I have been spelling the word that denotes any of the many pale, paler, palest shades of the colour light black as G-R-E-Y for as long as I can remember. And I second what so many people here have said: your writing is YOUR WRITING, and ought not to be Trivially Tampered With. I, too, enjoy reading about woollen matters, and I believe your Canadianism should be honoured at every opportunity. Fie American editors. Hands off Steph’s lingo.

  195. The next step to your book in my hands. And since I’ve been blessed to meet you, I prefer to hear you in my head as you read and I think Canadian spelling would assist that.
    I personally get nuts about en and em dashes and double spaces after a period. I guess we all have our idiosyncrasies… I love ellipses, too.

  196. Can I just made an added comment re spelling. It seems from this side of the world (Australia) that it is only America that uses their particular spelling. We, like most of the rest of the English speaking world, use the English spellings.

  197. I know exactly what you mean about writing by hand! I remember how hard I rebelled the first time I was required to type a paper. I actually went up to the teacher and asked her how she was going to know how I “felt” about it if she couldn’t see my handwriting! Of course she looked at me like I had two heads, but whatever; I was right.
    And I prefer to spell grey with an “e” and I think words that end in “-our” look elegant–I’d fight to keep it that way. I know I think your writing is tops as-is. Same with the ellipses, of which I’m a big fan (and hyphens, oh they are delightful!).
    To Marilyn with the Star Trek post…wow I almost choked when I read it. That was spot-on true and hilarious! I often wondered the same thing…

  198. I wonder if you editor has any stats for how many of your book sales are to those who have never, ever read your blog, which is full of “colour” and often mentions “mum”.
    Regardless of which spelling version wins, I am eagerly awaiting your next book!

  199. Mum is correct! My family has lived in Massachusetts since 1639. We say Mum. Tell your editor to deal!
    BTW, I would prefer your books to have the U’s in them! It’s more like you!!!!!!! Foolish editors, dumbing down stuff. I hate it.

  200. I’ve had polite debates with editors of professional publications over grey/gray and a few others. For some reason I cannot explain … except perhaps that I grew up in New Orleans, which is the most European influenced city in the US …. I prefer the non-American “grey” in general but also I think I have a touch of synesthesia because to ME, “grey” is a blue-ish-grey and “gray” is brownish-gray. And I often use British spellings. It’s not an affect. I think it’s because I was reading ahead of my grade as a child, and reading dusty old copies of classic literature from my Grandmother’s shelves. I’m a very bad American, but I think our national way of spelling, and measuring, is stubbornly and deliberately incorrect. Good on you for sticking to “Mum.” We all know what a “bum” is, too. If I fall on “my” bum, I have fallen on my arse. If I fall on “a” bum, I must apologize for my clumsiness to an unfortunate street person.

  201. I’d like to second everything pigs and bishops said. I’m sure your copyeditor knows that your spellings are not wrong and is in no way making judgments about your spelling. Editors change a lot of things just so that the manuscript conforms to the publisher’s “style.” (Including whether punctuation goes inside or outside of quotation marks or whether there is a comma before “and” when there is a list of 3 or more items. Incredibly picky, but that’s what they’re paid to do!) Most copyeditors have very little discretion in this area. Try talking to the acquisitions editor or the production editor about the value to your readers of keeping the Canadian spellings. You certainly have a lot of evidence in the comments to this post, and maybe you’ll change their minds!

  202. Whew…..lots of comments here, and obviously feelings fun high! (I love ellipses in e-mail and comments, because that is the way I talk and e-mail (in my opinion) is usually informal and reflects speech patterns. But I never uses them in formal writing, which needs to reflect a different, more formal tone.
    I am half-Canadian (the more literate half, obviously!) and I grew up using either color/colour…… until my teachers began marking me down for spelling if I added the u. At that point, I became adamant that colour was NOT A MISTAKE! And 60 years later, I still get great pleasure from a sentence that includes the colour grey.
    Barbara M.

  203. I’m with you…I like paper, handwriting and having the entire piece in reality, in my hands. Also, I am stunned that publishers don’t know that non-US spelling does not have to be corrected. I won’t even start on the state of spelling in the US…

  204. Honestly, I think the ellipsis has a valid place in writing when humor is concerned. I see it as acting like the gesture or facial expression made by a comedian. It gives the writing character.
    I must also say that I hate editing through pdf and other electronic mediums. I was required to do this for my thesis and I HATED it!! It is so lacking as a form of communication between author and editor. I try not to use electronic formats whenever possible, it ruins the flow of the process.
    I edit for PhD students that are from European countries. The grammar and spelling rules can be quite different. For example, writing in passive voice – BIG, BIG NO NO in the U.S. – sign of a bad writer don’t you know (I mean honestly,) but not the case in Europe (Hurrah). They ask me to edit if they are hoping for publication in the U.S. as we are real snobs about our grammar and spelling rules.I personally like the differences and I think that making them change is quite arrogant of those of us in the states.
    Sorry did not mean to rant, but this post hit me where I live.
    Peace and joy….

  205. I find that tracker doesn’t always save trees. I find tracker useful, but at times, the fact that I need to change something is correct, but the suggestion on how to fix the problem is not right. And with all the various colours popping up, it becomes virtually unreadable. Hence, end up printing out their changes, making my own using their copy as a guide and…poor trees. Because you are right, some changes have to be done. Other issues are not a simple matter of accept / reject.
    As to language – most editors I’ve used tell me they are ‘translating’ the piece into US / UK / RSA spelling / grammar. A lovely way to put it, rather than calling them mistakes. Because as you say, they are not mistakes, they are correct for that English language.

  206. You are so right about track changes. I’m an editor, and I’m currently trying to make sense of a manuscript which has six – well at least six, they’re the ones I can still identify – sets of track changes on it.
    Author produced ms, sent to friend, friend did changes (1). Author made more changes (2), sent to journo friend, who made other suggestions (3). Author then track-changed some of them, plus tweaked again (4) and sent it to publisher. Publisher then did more (5), sent it to author who had another go (6). Returned it to publisher, who then said unpublishable, you need a development editor.
    That’s me. They had to send me a hard copy because the electronic files were an unspeakable mess. I have stripped out everything and forbidden author from going anywhere near tacky changes. AGH!
    (Oh, and as a Brit, please stick with your spellings. I remember a review of a non-fiction British book, about a British event, in the NYT – of all places – which laid into the book for not having US spelling.)

  207. We struggle so hard every minute of the day to be true to our own uniqueness, to celebrate personality, and then here is the Digital Age which puts us right where we don’t want to be: indistinguishable and anonymous from everyone else in the form of universal, flat text on a screen.
    All we really have left is words and how we string ’em.

  208. Quite amazing that this very topic of different spellings has arisen amongst people who tat,at exactly the same time!!(I tat too…)
    I was interested, so did a bit of digging, and discovered that this all began when two different dictionaries were chosen as the national standards way back in the 18th century. The Americans went with Webster and his simplified spelling; the Brits preferred Samuel Johnson.

    I don’t know how good the integration is into Word/Pages, but it would be worth a look. As someone with difficulty holding a pen for long, having electronic editing has saved my ability to keep up with paperwork. As someone who loves creative expression, I miss colour and form and script.
    Maybe a tablet could give you a bit of the best of all of it.

  210. What are ellipses please? Do you mean brackets like these: () ? And ‘Track Changes’ is a programme sent by the forces of evil to turn us from reasonable people working efficiently, to screeching maniacs drawing on our computer screens in permanent marker and sobbing into our beverage of choice.

  211. Stick to your guns with the u’s!! My mUm agrees (however I am British and so may be slightly biased)

  212. I sympathize with you completely. Last year one of my professors graded all of my papers using track-changes. It felt impersonal and cold (and the the time stamp on each correction revealed that she only spent five minutes on a paper that took me days to write).

  213. I don’t know if someone mentioned this already, but for what it’s worth you can go into word and update Track Changes Options. I use this for my editing. It IS less personal than wielding a pencil, but you could change the colors and formatting for fun and your comfort! The electronic version of using a pink or blue highlighter when everyone else is using yellow.

  214. I’m English and my mum has always been my mum. Except, since she suddenly died a year ago, I have been utterly unable to call her “mum” and she is now “mom” in my head and out loud. Since my husband pointed out this sudden bizarre switch I’ve made an effort to say “mum” again, but it’s a proper actual effort and I have to check myself *every time*.
    There’s probably a PhD in that if only I could find the right specialist…

  215. I like personal, hand-written things better too. So I’m a much younger stick-in-the-mud than you. But if you must adjust, I hope it goes as well as it can.

  216. Interesting how many of us Americans spell that ambiguous shade between black and white with an “e” instead of an “a”. I grew up in Florida with a father born in upstate NY and a mother born in a sharecroppers shack in southern Alabama. It’s always been “grey” to me.
    You should do a poll on your blog to see how your readers prefer it.

  217. So what if it’s a book that’s going to the US and it’s a US publisher.
    Is no one in Canada (or Britian or elsewhere) going to buy it???????????????????
    I love your ellipses. The editor be hanged. It’s your book, not hers.
    So there.
    Now, if you can figure out how to put your foot down a little less firmly and still get the point across–anything less than “you” isn’t you, and it’s you that I love to read. Like I can’t figure out what you mean and I’m that stupid. The editor can get real.

  218. Ok so let’s go with a standard Star Trek manoeuvre, scenario # 1 it’s the future and England once again has part of it’s territory in France, or scenario # 2, Great Britain finally joined the European Union, English was declared the primary language and now they all talk like this.Problem solved re the accent/Captain Piccard issue and frankly who gives a darn as long as he keeps talking with that lovely voice of his (only James Mason’s can compare).
    Now for the spelling issue, it’s not like it’s new news to anyone that you’re Canadian so why they feel the need to Americanize the spelling is beyond me, and yes I’m Canadian and no it doesn’t seem to be too much to ask and interestingly enough she’s always been “mom”.
    Give the Elephant a shove (a friendly one, we’re Canadians)

  219. I think you need to come to some sort of agreement in advance with your editor for the next book. There will be one, right? We all know you are Canadian, and as long as the volume is consistent, we’re mostly bright enough to recognize what colour or grey (which one is that?) is, and it’s not like there’s going to be any confusion. I’m sure it’s too late for this one, but for the next one, you’ve got to get them to accept the British spellings as is. They would still have the leeway to change and colloquialisms that the American audience wouldn’t get, but even for those, I’m sure you’re conversant enough with US English to be able to include explanations.

  220. Maybe what you need are some Wingdings! They include smiley and sad faces, scissors, peace signs, glasses, etc.

  221. Long ago my college roommate and I wrote this haiku: Grey is gray is not. Grey is a color; gray is a color crayon.

  222. As long as it is not written in l33t-speak or Txt-spk, I don’t have a problem with different spellings of words.

  223. You are a Canadian author so keep the Canadian spelling in your book. I can’t believe this editor from the States is even making this an issue.

  224. I like final edits on paper too. The coffee stains, the different pens. Arrows and boxes. Print on recycled paper… books are paper anyway.
    The real thing is that if you do edits on paper, your poor editor has to put the changes in to the real document. And be careful to put in the right ones. You’re saving work by doing it yourself. And you can be pretty certain that you’ve got it right. Plus printing/shipping costs (in the broadest sense) are spared.

  225. Second comment here as well. For all the grey/gray people, I see them as too different colors too, only I see grey as a dark slate colour (foreboding, even) and gray as a pearly, light, almost white color. Exact opposite of everyone else. How odd.
    Judgement SHOULD have an E in it and I’m glad to know everyone is spelling it properly whenever US spell check tells me I’m wrong for putting the E in.
    Fforde is hysterical.
    And yes, I agree. You should send these comments to your American editor. Really, they need to get over the US-Ameriocentric idea that we only want to see things done (words spelled) “our” way.

  226. Wow! Was that a first? Not a photo to be seen!
    I’m with you. When I was teaching Freshman English (college level) I hated the computer programs for editing. Mind you, I insisted on papers being turned in typed – I wasn’t about to ruin my vision trying to read some of the kids’ handwriting. They don’t pay professors nearly enough for that! Also, those typed pages had to have the lines far enough apart for plenty of comments from me. As a teacher they needed to know why I wanted changes. As a writer I should think you want your editor to know why you want things as they are. As for spelling, I retain the rights to my cultural viewpoint (Spell point?). You should have yours. (Please note: This is NOT license for just plain old bad spelling!) Go for it!
    (Just an idea, but why not blend the best of both by either faxing your hand marked pages each direction? It still needs paper but it’s instantaneous and there’s no sweating about how much TWO postal services could screw up!)

  227. I have an innordinate fondness for elipses (elipsii?) too. And exclamation marks. Sometimes I read back over my emails and I think “Good lord….I sound like an overexcited cheerleader here” and delete a few.
    I’ve been proofreading for a friend. I like to do it by hand too. It seems kinder somehow. I occasionaly get the urge to draw a birdcage in the margin. As in “This story isn’t fit to line the bottom of …” but I have refrained. So far.

  228. I use elipses a lot too. But worse than that is my use of commas! I tend to put them all over the place and then when I re-read whatever I’m writing I have to take about 90% of them.
    I would rather see your books using the Canadian spellings. It’s not like any of the words are so drastically different that we Americans won’t understand what the word is! (and if someone does… they’ve got bigger problems!)
    I’m also wondering if the use of emoticons by an editor or author in response to an editor would be considered unprofessional. As in, “But I do call her ‘Mum’ ;)” or “But I do call her ‘Mum’ >:(”

  229. But you ARE Canadian, and we all KNOW you’re Canadian. It’s part of what makes you who/what you are which is why we all read you. Why shouldn’t you be allowed to spell like a Canadian?
    I totally agree about the way typing limits your expressive options.

  230. Editing aside, I know of writers who refuse to compose on a computer. Not only do they insist on writing longhand, they insist on using a certain type of pencil, paper, etc.
    Most probably, under it all is a knowing that using as many senses as possible helps spark creativity. The look and feel of art in progress is almost important as the art itself.
    Rather like knitting, yes?
    Since knitters are tactile people, it comes as no surprise that paper edits might be more important to a knitter/writer than to someone else.
    Mum — any editor who would insist on “mom” is full of it. An editor worth his/her salt puts as much importance on using just the right word as on readability. “Mom” would be a lie. Makes me cringe.
    “. . . were you once harmed by a conjunction so that now you’re unfair to them” — laughed out loud at this one.

  231. Interesting this process of writing… editing… debating… compromising… printing. As a fact, I just want to make sure the work hits the stores as I pre-ordered it more than a month ago.

  232. Stephanie, given the outpouring of support for Canadian spelling above, have you considered asking your editor if you can keep it and add a prefatory note to the book declaring (in some entertaining way, of course) your commitment to Canadian spelling and your reason for maintaining it in an American-published book? (Sort of like the explanation of dialect spellings in Huck Finn.) Seems like the sort of thing that would mollify an editor, or even publisher.
    I am also a professional editor, and I admit I use electronic editing when I really don’t want to hear a lot of pushback from a writer! Even in trace, things look so much more final and authoritative when they are typed out rather than edited into the margins.

  233. I want your problems!! I love reading you–the only thing better would be to be able to write like you! I’m sure your editor is wonderful, but is he/she a knitter??? This community is a little twisted, so a little colour, flavour, honour (you get the idea), doesn’t bother us in the least–we take it all in stride! Either way we’re going to buy the book!! xoxo

  234. I understand. It is the impersonality, rigidity of the writing software indiscriminately applied, and loss of personal contact. I, too, write everyday (altho I am writing reports and not wonderful prose as you are) (I adore ellipses also–the equivalent of a stage aside, I think) and anyway getting back to my original thought I swing between dismayed and enraged at how the computer controls how I write, what I write and where it is placed in the report. I would tell you you will get used to it but I have not. Good luck.

  235. “I can’t click “consider” or “maybe” or “were you once harmed by a conjunction so that now you’re unfair to them” ” <–This sentence has absolutely made my day.
    (I teach English–reluctantly American English–and we’re hitting conjunctions now in the grammar unit. Glorious.)

  236. I lived in the UK for about a decade and still find myself looking at a word and thinking, “Is this the American or British spelling?” It’s worse in speaking because a windscreen is a windscreen. I can never think of windshield. And a boot is a section of a car, a vest is an undergarment and braces hold your trousers up. Sigh……

  237. I’m right there with you on the way the tone of a comment changes depending on the medium. I guess handwriting conveys meaning in the same way that body language does for spoken words.
    I used to run teams of junior developers/analysts and would routinely print and write all over their work. I found the transition to electronic commenting and joint editing really difficult (and still haven’t really embraced it). I also find that I like to review documents in hard copy so that I can underline, circle, jot notes, doodle a picture I want included, etc. I wonder tho whether the generation behind me (i’m 37) will have these tactile associations.

  238. It took me a while to figure out what you meant by ellipses (duh). I love your Canadian spellings. They remind me that I am a member of a global society, not just a regional one. I’m always reminded of this when searching online for a wool jumper (meaning sleeveless dress to me)…all European hits are sweaters. Stick to your guns.

  239. there are 250+ comments on here and I assume you really don’t have time to read all of them….and someone else has probably already given my opinion as I’ve scanned for the words spelling,etc. However, and we knew there would be a ‘however’… I taught in international schools for 20 years and spelling was always a point of discussion with the teachers….but we all agreed that as long as one was consistent – US vs British spelling – then the student must use that which she was bound to use in her life…..I hate that this US publisher is trying to white wash this. May be small in the bigger picture but I hate the us-centric attitude….and yes I’m retired and yes I live in the state of WA and yes my passport says USA…but really, you are you and it’s your book and it’s your right to use your language, no matter how you spell it! rant over.

  240. You know its all one man right. Read about the life of American patriot Noah Webster, his dictionary, and his quest to create American English. Much of it stuck, like “color” versus “colour,” however some of it, like “tung” instead of “tongue,” did not. Fascinating stuff.

  241. I work for a publishing company and they’ve used Track Changes for as long as I’ve been here (5 years now). I’ve never considered the difference between this and handwritten changes, other than that it’s greener and cheaper than shipping large piles of paper about, but it’s really interesting to see an author’s perspective on it. It does force you to be more definite about changes, which can be a good thing. But, my working life would be more fun if manuscripts came in with alligators on them 🙂

  242. You may have a US publisher but you are a Canadian writer. Your work should be edited using the UK or Canadian spelling. Tell your editor to load the UK English or Canadian English spell checker. She probably didn’t even make those spelling edits, those are all automatic with the US Word.

  243. I don’t think your spelling should be American. Don’t let them homogenize you! I have always lived here, but am french, so I still spell some words differently.

  244. Dear Stephanie, I think it’s kind of sad to change your spelling to American, even tho I’m American. I love that your personality comes through in the way you say and spell things. Personally I think its part of what makes your writing interesting and fun! It’s not like you spell so different that we can’t figure out what the word is!! Blessings!!

  245. I like the early post about “clipart” alligators. Emoticons have their place too. As for the Canadian/American spelling differences you could add a note at the first one reminding the editor that you write in Canadian English and your spellings are correct but that you understand that the spellings will be changed for the American publication… that way you don’t offend while you expain?
    I have a problem with the triple dot myself! 🙂

  246. You definitely need to fight the “mum” issue. Say you were going to reference your grandmother… If you called her your nana, I would know you were talking about your grammy!

  247. I’m a writer/editor in the PR office of a public university and, yes, I’ll agree: being a writer (and editor) *is* a weird job. If I were editing your manuscript, I would simply make sure the writing was consistent — American English or Canadian English. Just choose one and go with it! You do, however, seem to omit the apostrophe in possessives…

  248. I for one like your writing style. It is unique for you (and maybe some other canadian writers, but I don’t know any??) and is what I hope to get each time I buy one of your books. I say click it Stephanie. 😀

  249. After reading through the comments, I have to get this off my chest: Argh!!!!! Why are people dogpiling on the editor?!
    The editor doesn’t set the publisher’s style. The publisher is her employer, the entity that pays her salary. If the editor values having that salary, she cannot go off on her own little spelling crusade regardless of how much an author really, really likes his or her native spellings.
    Yes, it sucks for the richness of our language, but it’s too much to expect the editor to buck the demands of her employer.
    My impression is that Stephanie knows and accepts the realities of working with an American publisher. At the same time though, she can certainly lament (along with many others) the black/white nature of electronic edits that make the requirements of the publisher seem so very stern and draconian.
    I’m an editor too, and color/colour is simply not a hill I’m willing to die on. (And, yes, ending a sentence with a preposition is often perfectly fine. Rid yourself of that artificial grammatical shackle!) I follow what’s required by whoever is paying me, which is sometimes an American publisher, sometimes a UK publisher.
    It can be a tough balancing act to both retain an author’s voice and follow house style. If an author feels exceptionally strongly about a particular style point, he or she has to take it up with the publisher. The editor can certainly argue the author’s point with the publisher, but in the end it’s not the editor’s decision.

  250. Oh, golly, I wish you didn’t have to lose the Canadian spelling of words. That’s part of the thrill of reading your work – like British mysteries on PBS or the British edition of a Harry Potter book – just delightful. Tell you editor any ol’ person can write in US jargon but we LOVE the difference your Canadian life brings to the writing. Keep on loving the written word, written correspondence. Who of us does not reach first for the hand addresses note in our daily mail? Most of us are sick to death of computer correspondence and some REAL humor, diversity in nationality and spelling is refreshing and so needed. Let your Canadian flourish!!

  251. You have my sympathy. Typing comments on the computer is still “new” to many of us, so it feels cold and impersonal, but I would say that it’s entirely possible to make your “voice” and “tone” come through by your choice of words (and smileys ;).
    Unfortunately AFAIK tablet drawings don’t work in Word comments, and I don’t think a different font does either if it’s not one that your editor has installed in HER computer. But you could always type “(insert grinning alligator here)” where necessary 🙂

  252. From one writer to another: stick your principals whether they be hand written or word processed. I prefer hand written editorial comments too. Word processors with their tracked changes, differing fonts, and virtual sticky notes seem to deflate the editorial process of any and all personality.
    In my view, the process is (or ought to be) all about building that beautiful relationship with a fantastic editor…even if they do tell you that you are wrong (A LOT). A cold and unfeeling word process cannot add that extra layer of personality that a coloured pen and pencils on a background of white paper can.

  253. Girl, stand your ground. Your knitting is personal, but omgoodness, your writing is YOU! I kinda like being reminded that your are Canadian. It helps me see your perspective on knitting cold weather wear (ref: silk mittens). You are too unique and already loved by your readers/fellow knitters, to think that American spelling is going to alienate us.

  254. “Being a writer is a weird job. ”
    trust me, so is being an editor. that’s what i did for 40+ years, and i still go berserk when i see homonym errors in print.
    the last 30-some years were all electronic — no more black pencils or diner-style coffee mugs of wallpaper paste for putting “takes” of the next day’s headline news together. and no more printers. we became the printers, and a lot of well-self-educated people were put out to pasture instead of being trained to be copy editors, a job most would’ve (NOT “would of,”!) done quite well.
    but i’ve always thought that producing something printed is like having a baby: the labor and the birth can be painful, but the result is great.
    congratulations on your upcoming “birth”!

  255. Yet another professional editor chipping in here … one who works in London and regularly changes American authors’ spelling to the British variety, not because I think it’s wrong (I am married to an American editor), but because that is the publishing house style. I’ve edited on hard copy (up to about 2005), with track changes (which I hated), and now electronically, but in a low tech version — I mark changes I’ve made in red, plus use ‘strikethrough’ for the deleted parts (also red), and before the MS is sent to the author, I send her/him all my queries on general points (‘could we use transliteration instead of Greek letters’, ‘could we expand X abbreviation throughout for clarity’ etc) and individual points. Once the answers are back (lots of room for jokes, chat etc as this is a separate file from the MS), I incorporate the changes, and the author then gets the updated MS to inspect. I do agree that ‘track changes’ is impersonal, plus it’s definitely not the right format for trying to discuss subtle points. I’d say the system we use works very well most of the time, and when it doesn’t it’s likely to be because of a very aggressive author who resents every altered comma and spelling correction! Luckily they’re not too common, but when you get one, boy, can they be a pain in the kazoo!
    Good luck with the new book!!!

  256. Hi Steph!
    I work for an organization where we work with outside editors all the time. Some prefer electronic and some prefer handwritten changes. I don’t think you’re crazy. There is definitely something personal about handwritten notes (not to mention the tactile experience of cozying up with paper), and there are many people here who refuse to use electronic changes. I would give it another shot… but it just may not be for you, and I think that’s okay.

  257. I’m not a writer (not even close) and can’t claim to be any kind of expert, but I agree with your thoughts. The new approach is probably saving 0.2 trees or something, but I wonder if your humo(u)r will suffer in some small way from having been stifled slightly by the new process. It’s a shame, but I think this is the result of a computer driven world. It’s not all good….

  258. Just wanted to add that I love ellipses 🙂 And I think more fonts might help – not the same as writing in pencil, but I think you can convey different emotions with different fonts. I don’t drink coffee, so not sure if that will help, but a beer might 😉 And I wish I could see what compelled you to draw an alligator as a note. Not sure how to make an emoticon alligator, but I’m sure you could do it if you tried…

  259. Clearly, your readers prefer you to keep the Canadian flavour (!) in your writing. Hopefully your editors will accept these comments as a petition to leave your spelling alone.
    Your writing is about who you are, it’s essentially autobiographical, and you are Canadian. I (an American reader) prefer these spellings as a reminder of who you are. It’s feels more personal that way.
    Looking forward to your next book!

  260. I’m of the generation that should find all things computer normal and breezy and instead I’m dreaming of some sort of program like acrobat with an iPad type thing that is the size of a page that you can draw on, underlining, scribbling, circling, diagram/pictogram/doodle/illustrating. Imagine – everyone involved could have a layer so that you could watch the dialogue unfold and you could even have layers for personal notes so that not everything had to be sent back to the editor. There are advantages to both paper and digital and it’d be so very cool to be able to take manuscripts to a cafe or park without scaring people with the quantity of work, lugging it all around or losing a sheet to the wind. In meetings everyone could chip in and scribble layout changes right on the page…
    that stupid iPad launch got me all excited that maybe this sort of thing wouldn’t be so far off and instead it was for reading the newspaper and other leisure activities.
    When we lived in the States I was constantly corrected to Mom and I was so stubborn about it the principal made sure the other teachers wouldn’t correct my 5year old little brother either. Some things don’t have spelling alternatives. Mum (and Mummy) are such verbal words, so pre-literacy, and the two (mum/mom)feel so different in your mouth that they really are too different to change lightly.

  261. Mz. Stephanie, Probably this has already been suggested, but in case not. Please send this WHOLE comment section to your editor and publisher. Let ’em see how we, your world wide family, respond to anyone stepping on your person. Your writing is you.
    So, y’all leave our Stephanie to be who she is. Y’ heah now? That’s better.

  262. I LIKE your spelling. It’s part of who you are. You are Canadian. I think the American publisher should leave your Canadian grammar and spelling alone.
    I am American if that’s worth anything.

  263. As far as I am concerned, the word is and will always be “colourway” – I learned it from a British sewing catalog years before I heard it applied to yarn. It’s their word and they get to determine the spelling of record.
    Someone famous once said “the difference that makes no difference is no difference”. Probably someone’s Mum.

  264. I have a nasty cold, and laughed out loud for the first time today, reading your post and the comments. I love you. I love your writing.
    About 20 years ago, the Episcopal cathedral in Seattle (St. Marks – let it all hang out) was refurbishing the inside with paint and repair. Someone chose a greyish pink to cover the area around the rose window behind the altar. Those who wanted another color called it penis pink. The color remains to this day, and I don’t go there without naming the color in my mind with an internal giggle.

  265. But you aren’t american, you’re canadian, and when I read your books I don’t expect to see american spelling and terms, I expect to see canadian spelling and terms. I have always thought we should spell the “old english” way in america. It just looks right to me. I fully understand and support your position about handwriting versus typing. It does feel the same as storebought socks versus handknit socks. There really is no comparison, is there?

  266. I agree–sometimes looking at a typed comment makes things feel totally impersonal. Oh, and don’t feel bad–I have an addiction to double-dashes. Just for you, I ignored the desire to edit, even though there there are two in this three-sentence post.

  267. I was reading along just fine and just about choked on my dinner when you said that some hats make you look like a penis. lololol…too funny. I look terrible in most hats but fortunately here in Alabama we only have like 6 days where we actually need hats so I’m willing to look terrible for warmth!

  268. Go Steph !!!
    The whole of Australia is behind you and our “English” is spelled correctly also,

  269. Just a query, but in the US, are British ‘classics’ published with America English spellings? Does Jane Austen have to submit to losing her ‘u’s? (Because if so, that’s just crazy.) Surely not. I don’t really see the difference here. Stephanie writes corectly in her country, publishes in another. Surely an American readership can appreciate that she’s bound by alternative conventions? (Clearly the American readers posting here have no problem with it!)
    Incidentally, I’m English and until I met my partner, I thought ‘mom’ was an Americanism, pure and simple. But he’s from the West Midlands and has always called his mum, mom!

  270. Sorry, that should have been ‘AmericaN English’. And ‘corRectly’. Oops! Am breastfeeding and typing one-handed…

  271. Interestingly, New Englanders seem to call their mother’s “Mum” and “Mummy” in spoken word, but when they write it down, it’s always Mom or Mommy. Being a native Philadelphian, when I first started spending a lot of time on Cape Cod, for the longest time I thought everyone I met had a British or Canadian mother and that’s why they kept saying things like, “well, when my mum made me a sandwich…” Then I realized it’s just a regional pronunciation. Perhaps we have more in common with our neighbors to the north and east than we realise!

  272. It’s important to keep words/spellings the way you do, Steph, as that is what we’re accustomed to, that’s what endears us to you, it’s NO PROBLEM learning to speak/write/be-familiar-with English-ese (British-ese??) and pish on those arrogants!! (dare I say??? I live in USA…..).
    I am not chiming in regarding the hand written note, but actually I am, I guess. I WILL NOT let my kids send an email to thank for gifts, nor a phone call, etc….I love the written hand!! yet I hate writing, but there’s something special about all those little hand written notes on patterns that I’m making and those little hand written notes from my babies and young adults. These cannot be replaced with a typewritten piece.
    nuff said….

  273. I am with you all the way – working in academia, ‘correcting’ student papers with a pen could make edits seem less harsh, whereas editing them in a word document just makes it more…impersonal.
    Of course, we’re probably just showing our age, since almost all conversation between teenagers is by text these days, this generation just doesn’t know the difference.
    (and I am not missing the irony that this whole conversation is taking place via blog/comment.)

  274. Just for the record, there are Americans who have some British/Canadian English ticks. My family is from Sweden and Holland. I’m the in first generation of Americans on both sides. I call my mother “Mum” and my grandmothers “Mormor” and “Oma”. Not because it’s right or wrong but because… that’s their name. Oh I also grab a jumper when it’s chilly, and think that my students are sometimes a pain in my arse.

  275. Funny, grew up, was educated, and still live smack dab in the middle of America. Yet I adore reading blogs and books and coming across words such as “Mum” and “colour”. I don’t even think twice about it because those words feel so warm and “right” to me, even if it’s not how I grew up spelling them. I guess for me it’s a reminder of what a wonderfully rich and diverse world we live in…and it makes me a little sad to know your publisher see the differences in opinion differently.

  276. YES, you need more fonts!! you can never have too many!
    you can even get your own handwriting digitized…the ultimate font! ‘->
    you may have guessed, i’m a bit of a font junkie (blame my newspaper publisher dad).

  277. I’m an editor, and an American, and if I ran the house you’re publishing with I would (1) not hire “editors” who are unaware of the existence of English forms other than the American one, (2) expect the editors I do hire to be able to distinguish between “mistakes” and perfectly acceptable variations in spelling and usage; and I’d let your Canadian English stand. Everybody who reads you knows you’re Canadian. You write about being Canadian. “House style” is a preference, not Holy Writ. Keep your voice, and your generous sprinkling of optional u’s. And yes, she’s YOUR mum.
    Good luck with the final push.
    (And for the record, I’m much happier–and faster and more efficient–editing on paper. I believe in putting changes into the electronic file after the negotiating is done, and both writer and editor have agreed to the revision. Just my preference.)

  278. I live in the US and personally I like the little differences in the spelling and I LOVE ellipses. . . I mean, like a lot! In fact, I use them in inappropriate places. . . just because I like them so much. 🙂 Don’t change the way the way you do things because I like the end results just the way they are (because we know the sale of the book that I purchase is the of the utmost importance in the big picture). . .

  279. i love to read ‘english’ english….un-americanised! i think it makes the personality of the author come through. i am american but think things should be published the way the author wrote them or would have said them. hugs!!

  280. i think it’s a really good idea to give the electronic process a go, but i can completely understand the loss of personal touch with the form. I haven’t, sadly, worked as an editor, or writer, but have studied both and have had a few stories published, and the editing process of writing, scrawling, changing and drawing alligators is part of YOUR process (until now at any rate, and perhaps again). It reminds me of when i first worked in front of a camera as an actor, instead of on stage. the concept is the same, the words and intention and mental process are the same, but the technical process is so different so as to seem almost unrelated.
    REmember, at the end of the day, this is your job and you are one of the few people in the world who gets paid to do what they REALLY REALLY love. So if it’s a part of your job you love and are not ready to lose, stand up for it! just use recycled paper! (you don’t have a water shortage up there do you?)
    And btw, MUM ALL THE WAY (from this little aussie)

  281. No sure if someone else mentioned this but there is an iPad ap that allows you to take notes on a document with a magnetic pen and then keeps those notes as an overlay to the document. This would seem to solve the “typewritten comments are so cold and impersonal” problem.

  282. I’m American and I don’t see why you can’t leave things spelled the way they are. I read blogs and when I read the word colour I know what it is. I don’t see it as spelled wrong. I actually like it a lot. Just my two cents.

  283. You know all this already anyway, but…
    The owner of a small Cdn publishing company who I know was interviewed by someone from the New York Times about publishing in Canada (imagine that!) and said NYT rep was floored to hear that Canadian publishers consider the target market very carefully before making decisions about which spelling system to use. Books for the predominantly USA market use American English — ‘though I think there are still adverbs, curiously absent from most American speech these days — otherwise the book is criticised for being filled with misspellings.
    Books for the Cdn market will use Cdn spellings. Don’t remember what happens when one is considered for an international audience.

  284. In some parts of the UK they call their mum “mam”. Mainly in the North of England and in Wales. How you spell it is entirely down to how you were brought up to say it. Your mum is yours and nobody elses. Don’t make a change!

  285. I love making hats but can’t wear anything except berets or else I look MUCH worse than a penis. much worse
    I look really great in regular hats, but knitted caps??? yech!

  286. For the record, I am an American who uses grey and theatre, and pronounces either and neither with the I sound. There are a few of us, although I’ve always known I was different. The spelling I blame on an addiction to Jane Austen but the pronunciation, who knows? I would argue against editing out your spellings, even in America :).

  287. Steph-
    A lot of us read British mysteries exclusively for years and years and use grey, realise and all the other alternate spellings naturally. That’s what they are, alternate spellings. We all know what they are! Push back, woman. Woollen! Woot!

  288. I too am an American who uses British English due mainly to my years of scientific training. I went through the same thing as you with my Masters thesis … Sulphur, mineralisation, grey, recognise, colour, etc. My advisor kept telling me I was WRONG with all of my spellings, although 98% of the scientific references I used used the same spellings I do (and learned to do)… just because it is not the “typical American Way” does not make it wrong! C”mon, if you are reading about “microscopic AU mineralisation associated with sulphur and arsenic”, are you really going to get confused and not know what the paper is about solely because of the use of the S’s instead of Z’s? No, you are going to get confused because the advisor did a crappy job reviewing it because he was too intent on replacing the s’s with z’s!

  289. Oh Steph! As a writer, an editor, a rabid fan of yours and now a communications doctoral student … I get you. I really get you. Just keep in mind that you’re not just saving trees, but a drop or two of fossil fuel that the MS would devour getting to you… and the cardboard to box it up… The electronic tools rescind the availability of nuance from the editor, too … or, perhaps, choose her to select her battles wisely. Let’s see, FIVE ellipses! Now there’s a ph.d. topic: the rhetoric of ellipses.

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