Should I Write in British English or American English (Or in Other Flairs)?

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Dear Beautiful Readers,

In today’s WIP (Work In Progress), I would like to share with you another part of my writing journey. It was a dilemma, which took so long to decide. In the end, I did make a decision based on a few criterias and let me take you along what it is. Do bear with me as it’s not a long-winded post. 🙂

It’s a rather intricate question for authors when it comes to writing. How do you choose which version of English you’re going to write in? British or American? Or maybe Canadian. You would probably say, “Well, it depends on your audience. If you’re targeting the American market, then go with the American English.” Right.

What happened to the world is my oyster? What if you want to write for the international market? How do you go about writing your book? Do you publish your book in 2 versions of English? – British AND American? I’d guess if you’ve scored a big book deal like J.K. Rowling, then yeah. But how about self-published writers or indie authors who are on a budget? Or any other writers, for that matter.

Firstly, I would like to mention that this post is not meant to teach or claim that one English version is better than the other. Or you have to write in a certain way and style. I’m writing based on my experience and what I thought suited my book. And I’m not going to dwell on the main differences between British and American English, i.e. spelling, grammar, punctuation, and register (using different words to describe a particular thing, purpose, or actions). That will be another topic.

So, it took me a while, contemplating back and forth which one I should use. At first, I wrote my book all in American English. Then, after much re-evaluation, I’ve decided to change it to British English. WHY?  


In my last post here, I mentioned that my children’s book will include elements of Malaysia. And it is. It’s set in Malaysian scenery. Furthermore, here’s a quick fact, Malaysia was once ruled by the British from 1826-1957 (according to Wikipedia), and we were taught English the British way in schools (though I can’t speak for the current school system now). Hence, the change.

Most Comfortable Flair

Writing is like art. It involves the flow of emotions then and the style of chosen words. So, while writing and preparing the manuscript in American English, I can’t help the sense of awkwardness. It didn’t feel right. You know, that sixth sense in your gut telling you something needs to be changed. Or like a furball stuck in the throat, tickling its way around – an itchy sore throat that takes months to go away.

What I’m trying to say is, write in a version you’re most comfortable with. You can’t satisfy every reader out there, but there will be readers who will read your book in whatever English style you write in. Trust your gut.

Someone once said,

“One major problem most authors face is, they are never satisfied with the first, second, or even the third writing. They’re always making changes, and it never seems to end. You got to know when to stop deliberating too much and go with your first flow because it was written based on your very first emotions.”

– R.C.W. Seow

Till next time!

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