Focus on Better #1: Writing From Different Worlds -#RRBC


This year, we (the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB) are lending great focus to  getting better…improvement of our selves, improvement in our lives, and because we are a literary organization, improvement of our writing, has moved to the forefront of our mission. It is time that we ALL stand out.  Some of our members already do, but because it is not our goal to leave any of our RRBC family behind, we are going to push one another, until we are all standing on solid (equal) ground.  If you’re not there in the upper echelon of the writing club, then those who are, will not rest until you are planted firmly beside them.  Let’s become each others keepers.  As the great Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:  “I cannot be all that I can be, until you are all that you can be,” so on that premise, we won’t rest until each and every member of RRBC, has reached their highest pinnacle of success in all their written work.

This series, “FOCUS ON BETTER,” will empower and enlighten you.  They are lessons meant to open your eyes to all the possibilities that await you, once you seriously embark on the journey of becoming, not just an average, mediocre writer, but a phenomenal one, whose words are highly sought after by Connoisseurs of the written word. Yes, those are the folks I want to appraise my books…because they are the ones who know truly good writing when they read it.  They can discern junk from jewel and ultimately, their reviews are the ones that matter most to me, as they should to you.  This series is also meant to make you an even better book reviewer.

Today, our focus is on WRITING FROM DIFFERENT WORLDS.  As a book reviewer, I have come to the conclusion that writers from the US & Canada, write a tad bit differently from those writers in the UK and beyond.  You see, the United Kingdom writers tend to write without much punctuation, whereas, if you’re writing it properly in the US, there is a specific place for stop signs and red lights, for green lights that let you continue with the flow of traffic, and even the yellow ones that ask you to pause for a bit.  We already know that some of their (UK & even Canada) words are spelled differently than ours (US), as well;  organization (organisation), catalog (catalogue), centerpiece (centrepiece), and misbehavior (misbehaviour) are just a few of those words.  But, does any of this make their writing incorrect?  For a long time, I thought it did, and so I graded accordingly in my reviews of such work.

After a time of reading so much work by many writers from the UK, writers whose work I enjoyed, aside from the variations of country, I came to the conclusion that their writing wasn’t wrong, it was just the way it was done in their country.  It was at that time, that I decided to use a different scale for their writing, as opposed to my standard scale (my own) of those writers from the US.  I could no longer penalize writing, that for a few variations in spelling, was pretty good reading.  As far as the punctuation end of it, I still struggle, as some work that I have read from writers from the UK, never allow you to pause and take a breath before your eyes begin to cross.  That’s a huge problem for me and probably will continue to be so.  I ask those writers to have a little empathy for those of us who are accustomed to driving on the right side of the road.  I’m sure you wouldn’t want us to have a brain-crash, which is customary when we’re given the freedom to just go go go, without any regard to running into the other words in front of us.  I mean, run-on  sentences are against the law, aren’t they?  Maybe that’s just in Nonnie-land….hmmmm.

What I’d like for you all to take from this today, is to give the other side a chance, whether you’re a word-Connoisseur from the US or from the UK.  Recognize the differences in our writing that are there because of the side of the ocean we’re from, and not just blatant errors and mistakes that some would be quick to believe…are from a lack of knowledge in the field.  Maybe we, in the RRBC, should create a new scale of review to be used for books from the UK, which in all actuality, are well-written, aside from the variations of country that separate us in the area of writing.

Now, I’m not saying that all books, whether from the US or the UK, should be given a pass…just because.  Absolutely not!  No matter where you’re from, there is no arguing that good writing is still, good writing.  I’m merely suggesting that we dig a little deeper, to discern the real junk from the jewels, because no matter where you’re from, THAT should be standard!

We’ll see you next time on FOCUS ON BETTER, for another enlightening topic that can only help you to grow into the best version of you, as a writer.

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What are your thoughts on this topic?  We’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

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26 responses

  1. passive voice afflicts my efforts, and this is a “sin” I try to catch on each re-write. And I’ve been on both sides of the Atlantic in re spelling. I was marked down in the UK for English spelling and then I returned to the US, where it began all over again. lol

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  2. This post made me chuckle. I have always found myself reading with a more sophisticated voice when the book is written by a UK author. I don’t even realize that I’m doing it until I hit the variations in spelling. I find the UK writers have a different style to their writing than US authors. I really can’t pinpoint why, but it just seems to work out that way for me. lol! I don’t mind the changes in spelling. Maybe I’m used to it. The sentences are longer, but I tend to add my own pauses, so it doesn’t deter me away from reading the books. I’ve loved the books I’ve read so far, so it’s all good for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shirley Harris-Slaughter | Reply

    Your topic “Focus on Better” needed to be said because it is an important subject. When I started reading books from the UK I definitely ran into the cultural differences. I had to take a moment to try and understand why I was getting spellings that I thought were a problem when in fact they wern’t. I’m sure the UK writers may have encountered the same phenomenum with Americans. Its all a learning experience. Thank you Nonnie for bringing this up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading your post, Nonnie. For me, I have always read British books and so these differences never bothered me. I see it as a regional difference. It’s the same to me as if I were reading Dicken or Mark Twain and have to get use to the dialog and slang. ~JD

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read books from ‘both sides of the pond’ since I was a small child and truly this makes no difference to me. I love how words are spelled differently and I love when I find say a great book with a thick brogue.

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  6. The difference in spelling doesn’t bother me. I’ve worked on novels with Brits and Australians. The run-on sentences, however, need to at least be mentioned by their editors. I believe that punctuation should be international. Otherwise, I’m afraid we will miss some really good writing.

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  7. I don’t let cultural differences impact my reviews of work. I may slow down at a different spelling or punctuation anomaly as I read, but I won’t refer to them in my assessment of a work. I wouldn’t want people to do that to me if the situation were reversed. Hmm, now that I think of it, maybe I should be more aware of these differences. I have a writing friend in Italy, and I edit the English versions of her work. I never stopped to consider that as I’m editing (in the U.S. style), she may be publishing in the U.K., and those readers could be assessing her work with those same concerns.

    Definitely food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post and so true! There are many types of “good writing,” depending on where we’re from. Being open-minded is necessary (to an extent, of course). As was said in the comments… If we all wrote the same, it would be a boring world. Thanks for sharing, Non!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Differences in spelling or punctuation is not a problem for me. I studied English literature in college so was well exposed to such differences which I quickly came to appreciate. I DO NOT like sentences that run on and on. That is not acceptable no matter from which country.
    I loved this topic and agree with Gwen Plano it would make a great topic for our next Writer’s Conference.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had a funny response to my latest book from a beta American reader, who pointed out I reheated a Chinese in the Microwave. She thought I should say Chinese meal but in the UK you would just say Chinese. Similarly, we would ask someone if they fancied having an Indian without the addition of the word ‘meal’. (Does that also seem odd to other Americans?) Colloquial differences in our languages are often very amusing. I also remember with my first book, an American review saying I had spelling errors on the first page, which wasn’t the case but was my use of English spelling rather than American. I wasn’t aware British writers were known for using less punctuation. I read a great mixture of books but unless the grammar is really bad, I probably don’t notice.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. harmonykentonline | Reply

    Great post, Nons! Even though in the UK , I do use commas, lols. I stick to the rules of using commas after an introductory clause/phrase/word to avoid run ons, and always make sure the reader can take a breath 🙂 I also like the Oxford comma (otherwise known as the Serial Comma) … and much prefer books that are well punctuated than not. … I have to giggle here, as well, because it took a long time for me to get used to Americanisms such as ‘off of’ and ‘a couple times’ (no ‘of’) lols, among others. Nowadays, I’m truly multi-national!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Thanks, Nonnie! As I’ve come to realise, you have a wonderful way of giving us just what we need at the right time! I was schooled in South Africa and the British versus American rules of spelling and punctuation have kept me conflicted for years – really in anxious suspense – the truth be told. I used a British editor for “Fauna Park Tales” and I was very unhappy when many of my ; : and so forth, summarily landed in the proverbial trash bin! Fortunately, writing mostly for children has forced me to constantly avoid run on sentences, keeping things short and sweet. I look forward to your next post. Thank you, again.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Very enlightening read. I hired an editor who is originally from the UK. She wasn’t the right fit for The Neon Houses in general, but what really irked me was that she took out most of the punctuation that set off clauses and phrases. I thought I was old -fashioned and this was some new trend in writing, so I began to write in the run-on sentence style. That was driving me nuts, and I finally sent a chapter to an RRBC editor just to see if I was crazy. Thank you, Nonnie! My guru! I do agree that the books Ive read from our members have been outstanding. I’m going to love this series and I hope you’ll touch on reading outside of your favorite genre.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good discussion, Nonnie. I love that our Club is international. The diversity in writing styles is fascinating, and I’ve learned so much by reading books from member authors in the UK, Canada, Greece and other countries. For our next conference, maybe we could have a session on this topic. Wouldn’t that be fun?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hmm. I never noticed that run-on sentence problem or lack of punctuation with UK writers. I do, however, zone in on the different spellings, but I think I’ve been reading them for so long (decades) that my mind just processes that as “no issue.” It’s kind of like a special treat that I come across every now and then.

    I have one friend far across the pond in Europe who will often ask me to look at her work (in beta form) to catch phrases and expressions that don’t work in the U.S. as she sets her stories here. We’ve learned a lot from each other, including an appreciation of each other’s countries and cultures.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ah . . . the world would be so bland if we were all the same. Our club is an “international community” and as such we understand there are subtle differences and cultural nuances in the writings from our fellow members in different countries.

    I must admit however, lack of punctuation marks and run- on sentences remain problematic to me.

    With that said, Nonnie, I agree good writing is still good writing. We should all “focus on better” with our writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I concur, Nonnie. My editor is from the UK, and we often disagree on not only punctuation but also social phenomenon. The US is a far more litigious and violent country, as a whole (with much higher incidence of gun violence, rape, arson and other violent crime) than the UK. It’s hard for us to imagine the other’s world, so it’s something we must overcome. Different worlds create different people with sometimes contrary thoughts, feelings, and opinions, but it’s one great, big world we share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right, Pring, and it belongs to us all! (But, I’m not giving up on that punctuation issue just yet!…LOL)

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I couldn’t agree more. It took me a while to get used to the different word spellings (as I’m sure it did the UK writers as well), but it makes reviewing their work much lighter when you accept the differences and move on. I have to agree with the punctuation. There has to be periods and commas in the right place. That should be universal. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, I think many of us struggled in the beginning with the urge to not correct the spelling of those books. For the most part, I have come to accept that it is their way, their language, and I have no right to change that. Punctuation…a totally different story! The lack of, in very important places, does make my eyes cross. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and weighing in!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I could not agree more, Nonnie! We have some GREAT English writers in #RRBC and I have loved their books. I understand many of the differences in language (I used to watch English TV shows and Prime Minister Question Time). But the limited punctuation sometimes gets me too. I slave and slave to get mine perfect and still the mistakes appear. As they say, “The story is the thing!” and that’s my bottom line. If I’m enthralled with the story, I ignore the tiny errors (or perceived errors). I might mention something in the review, but I do not cut my rating for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The operative word here being “tiny,” right, Karl? I understand totally, Karl! Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Just as you said Nonnie, good writing is good writing. The different spelling of some words is probably what we cannot change, but the run on sentences is wrong, no matter from what side it is coming. The more I write, the more I value the nuances of the English language. I know I may not be an expert in that language, but that will never stop me telling my story. :D. After all, what are editors, proof readers, beta readers, etc, for? :D.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also feel very strongly about those run-on sentences, Joy. They really do detract from an otherwise good read.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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