L’étranger.

For those of you who enjoyed the main event in November, we’re now nearly a week into Camp NaNoWriMo. This is an offshoot project where you have a free choice of what you want to work on, and you can set your own word target from 10,000 upwards. However, this is not what I want to discuss today.

One of our group members keeps a WordPress blog about her experience of moving to Scotland, from eating ice cream on a cold day to voting in last September’s independence referendum. Indeed, we boast a number of members from other countries.

There’s a joke often repeated that there is no such thing as American English, there is English and then there are mistakes. Joke or not, I find it difficult to agree with this statement, as there are so many variations of English even as you travel within the same country. For proof of this conjecture, just ask people on your favourite social media site what they call the end slice of a loaf of bread and watch the arguments come to a head.

The Stranger (collection)
The Stranger (collection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regular readers will know that I’ve so far been published in three countries: England, Australia, and the USA. Sometimes when I send to US publications, I change the spelling and grammar appropriately, with guidance from Microsoft Word and my own knowledge of Hollywood movie dialogue. This isn’t, I admit, a perfect system. And yet the one story published there is written in British English, and that’s because the protagonist is obsessed with acronyms, and changing the location would mean rewriting those acronyms, so the Britishisms stayed accordingly.

I know virtually nothing about Australian English, so I stick with my usual spelling and syntax. Here’s where to buy FourW Twenty-Four containing my story, although they’ve omitted my name from the website. I made reference to a motorway, whereas a quick Internet search suggests that highway or freeway might be more appropriate. The type of road is not a major plot point in this piece, nor does the action take place in a specific locality, but I know a few expats who can advise me for next time.

While looking up these links, I discovered that another Gavin Cameron wrote a non-fiction book in 1999 about the threat of nuclear terrorism. So if that’s a subject that interests you, it’s the other guy you want to speak to.

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