Spelling is the means by which letters are combined to make words that others will recognize. This, along with punctuation, grammar, and spelling's cousin, capitalization, is the basis for all written communication. Without standardization, all is chaos.
It must be noted that what constitutes a word in the above definition is not negotiable. If it's in the Oxford English Dictionary, it's a word. If it's not in there, it's not a word. Unless it's a name. Or you're writing in a language other than English, of course. As the days of Empire are over, you can probably get away with that.
PPC agents make many sacrifices to the gods of orthography, lest they not be sufficiently appeased, and show their wrath by raining fire and brimstone on all and sundry. These sacrifices are usually in the form of Sues or Sue-wraiths.
Bad spelling is a charge. However, this does not mean that an agent can assassinate or exorcise a fic for a few typos. Neither does it mean that Britpicking agents can necessarily charge for Americanized spelling (or vice versa). Sometimes they can, though, so beware.
Often, bad spelling is caused by inaccurate typing and/or a simple inability to spell, something that many people unfortunately suffer from. But this is fixable. It is when someone simply does not bother to even reread their work or have it beta'd that it becomes an offense in the eyes of the PPC. Bad spelling should never see the light of day; it should be buried in drafts. Fics suffering from pervasive bad spelling may be targeted by the Department of Technical Errors, even if they contain no other issues.
Some badficcers use the excuse "But I'm dyslexic!!111!!!! UR MEEEEN!!!11!!!one!!!1" This usually cuts no ice, since dyslexia doesn't affect a person's ability to use a spell check program and/or a beta reader.
Effects of Bad Spelling in Badfic Edit
Agents who enter a fic encounter the effects of bad spelling more often than not. These can include:
- The creation or summoning of a mini when a name is misspelled. Minis often follow agents until they can be returned to their home OFU.
- A word misspelled as another word may be interpreted literally, such as spaying someone rather than spraying. And if agents speculate about what word a typo has turned to nonsense, the Laws of Narrative Comedy fill in the worst possible choice.
- The creation of odd objects (such as Lorram's Smith) when the wording is almost impossible to interpret.
- Geographical aberrations.
Spelling Help Edit
The Oxford English Dictionary Online is available by subscription. However, if you'd rather not subscribe, there are many other places to look up words online. Some favorites include the following: