We’ve gotten a ton of amazing submissions to our Stories to Take To Your Grave: Mortuary Edition anthology, and they’ve come from around the world!

One challenge we’ve noticed is that in English, the rules for spelling, punctuation, and grammar differ from country to country (and area to area, especially if you live in the American south like me!). It’s something we didn’t really think about when we were writing our submission guidelines, but now that we’ve realized the diversity of the folks submitting to us, it’s something we want to clarify.

In most cases, English can be divided into two broad groups, American influenced and British influenced. There are, of course, further distinctions (right, all y’all?), but for our purposes, these broad distinctions should serve. 

When it comes to spelling, we’re fine with American or British–we feel linguistic heritage and use can be an important part of an author’s voice. The main thing we look for is consistency–if you use “colour,” don’t use “humor” in the next sentence.

We feel the same way about grammar. Grammar is so intuitive, we aren’t going to ask you to change what you know! Just try to maintain consistency throughout the story. We will make any necessary corrections during our editing process.

Punctuation is where we take sides: we will always ask for and prefer that stories follow American punctuation rules. This means double quotations instead of single, punctuation inside of quotation marks instead of outside, and periods after titles (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.). We don’t do this because one system is better than the other; we just know and have a deeper understanding of American punctuation, so it’s what we choose to use. 

Is making a mistake in American/British influence going to sink your story’s chances of acceptance? No. We have editors for a reason. But as I discussed in a previous post, one of the things we look for when going through the slush pile is pieces that require minimal editing work, and letting you know what we’re looking for benefits both of us.

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