If you’re born in the south, or at least in Texas, there’s a good chance you refer to any can of soda as a coke. If we’re at a restaurant and I tell Spreadsheet Guy to order me a coke, he knows I don’t mean Coke. I hate straight-up Coke. When I say coke, it means Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper or, if I’m desperate and the restaurant sucks, a Diet Pepsi. But a coke means any coke. Or soda for all you weird folks. 😉
When writing The Shadow Reader novels, I had a similar problem with the word “chuck.” To me, chuck means throw, but I kept having beta readers and editors change it to “chunk.” It was weird, but I eventually decided that I must be wrong about the whole chuck thing and I finally relented to changing it to chunk. That’s what you’ll find in the Shadow Reader books. It wasn’t until later that I learned the whole “chuck” “chunk” thing was a regional difference. I kind of wish I’d stuck with chuck, but oh well. Not a big issue, though in the Anomaly Novels, if anyone is throwing something, they’re chucking it.
I’m encountering another word choice thing that might be regional in the Kennedy Rain series. I just discovered Kennedy drives a mini-van. Not exactly by choice but it was her parents and it still runs and Kennedy is a college student and can’t afford anything else. I’m having a big problem writing things like, “I went to my mini-van.” It sounds wrong to my ears. I want to write, “I went to my car.” It sounds sooo much better even though it’s technically inaccurate. But maybe it’s not? Maybe it’s another regional thing? Or maybe everyone thinks car and mini-van are interchangeable like I do?
So what do you say? Do people go to their cars or to their mini-vans?
If you read car in a book, but it was actually a mini-van, would it trip you up while reading? Let me know. 🙂