June 16th, 2005

Illustmaker me

What do you do when...?

A couple of times now, I've gotten comments on Shifts complimenting me for coming up with things I took directly out of OotP. I'm never sure how to respond to that. If I pop in with a correction, it sounds like I'm, you know, correcting someone (it wouldn't in a conversation, but in print, it seems like I'm slapping someone who's saying something nice to me), but if I don't say anything, it seems like I'm content to take credit for something Rowling did.

:scratching head:

Illustmaker me

Language rant.

Oops, I finally snapped on Brit-picking, after a fanficrants rant. I guess I'm not really sorry about that.

I'm happy to take it in first draft--in fact, I greedily seek it. But damn--people put so much emphasis on Brit-picking that you'd think Harry vs. Voldemort was a minor skirmish in the great Mom vs. Mum debate! It's great to get setting details right, but next to plot, theme, characterization, and everything else that goes into a story, why in the world do we make such a huge damned fuss about whether or not English people eat waffles for breakfast, if such a thing is mentioned in passing for less than half a sentence?

And as to the American writers who disdainfully declare our spellings and usage "incorrect," give it up. English is English. Our form and their form originated at the same time--granted, both in England--and was spoken by English-speaking peoples. Ours migrated across an ocean. Our accents are no less valid than are accents from Leicestershire or Kent. Our spelling is no less valid. All it means if you spell "favor" instead of "favour" is that you were born here, something you have no need to apologize for, or put on airs to cover up the deep shame of. And since that is not a character voice--it's nothing more than an arbitrary authorial choice--there is never a good reason for an American writer to use it, regardless of the setting. You can write in Middle Earth, but you are not J.R.R. Tolkien. You can write at Hogwarts, but you are not J.K. Rowling. If you're born in York, England, you use "flavour." If you're born in York, New York, you use "flavor." One is not right while the other is wrong.

(And yes, of course that goes the other way. A British writer would have Xander do a favour for Buffy, no matter where the two characters happened to be hanging out.)

Sorry. That just... AAAARGH.

EDIT: Just to clarify--I'm not saying that American writers should ignore the concept of getting the setting details right. Of course we should. I'm just sick of the smackdowns over relatively minor infractions, especially when no comment is made about major points in the fic!