Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is it Really That Hard?

I think its time I sat down and made a precise plan for myself to focus my ever-shifting attention. I'd been working on Alastor, then I stared a whole new project, and then yesterday I decided to review one of my romantic suspense manuscript because I'd like to eventually offer it to Noble once (the newly named) Sanctuary is released.
See how I'm bouncing all over the place?
The review of my rom sus is going to take a bit longer than I anticipated. Its set here in Australia and the hero is an SAS soldier (special forces, kinda like American Army Rangers, I suppose). To cut a very long story short (or maybe not so short) I entered an American writing comp earlier in the year, with a different rom sus that also had an Aussie digger (soldier) as the hero. One of the judges commented (and this still cracks me up) that my "hero didn't sound Australian" and that "the author needs to meet and spend time with some Australian people to learn their very distinct accent and mannerism so it can be translated into the writing." (not a direct quote, but it was along those lines.) Well, gee. Where the hell can I find some Australian people to hang around with? It's going to be freaking hard, since I LIVE IN AUSTRALIA.
Anyway, in the judges defense, I guess I'm so used to writing for an American audience that I did forget to make that character 'sound' Australian.
Though, in all honesty, its not like us Aussie all sound like Crocodile Dundee (G'day, chuck a few more prawns on the barbie, mate). I think we're becoming more Americanized by the year and the language divide (especially with gen Y. I swear some of them could pass as Americans) is getting less and less obvious. In my opinion anyway.
Nonetheless, when I started reviewing the rom sus, I decided I needed to sprinkle some more Aussie slang through it, though there was already a bit in there. Some of the problem being that after using some terms, I then had to find a way to explain what the heck my hero was talking about, because I don't think many people outside Australia would know what an ambo or firie is (ambulance officer and firefighter) or what we're doing if we say we're barracking or had a bingle (barrack is to cheer on a football team, and bingle is a car accident.)
Furthermore, I was surprised at how hard I found it to get out of my formal writer's head and remember what Aussie slang terms needed to be swapped in, so much so that I had to google an Aussie slang dictionary. I know, the Australian author needs to refer to a slang dictionary. The mind boggles.
So its slow going at the moment while I make sure my hero sounds like the right amount of Aussie feral bogan (don't ask) while at the same time, making sure my readers know what the heck he's talking about.
But you know I don't like to make things too easy on myself.
Meanwhile, I need to go get that 'projects plan' done on my office whiteboard so I have a clear direction in mind.

3 comments:

Kez said...

lol, go the feral bogan! You just need to make him sound like that "chik chik boom" lass :) Or maybe like an episode of Pizza!

Tez Miller said...

Damn it, lass; you know your characters are supposed to perpetuate ridiculously outdated and unrealistic stereotypes ;-)

Jess Anastasi said...

LOL Kez, maybe I should make him part-ethnic (omg, I nearly said the 'w'-word, my hubby is cyprian and i tend to get away with a few 'w'-word jokes. But then I often forget its probably considered racist outside of our family environment) and then my hero could go around saying things like "come check out my fooolly sick sub-woofer, bro."
PS, Fat Pizza is one of my all time fav movies!
Tez, yes, let's perpetuate a 1980's bad cliched image of Australian men. Suppose I should write a scene where he does that hand-hypnotizing thing on a big cow. Or maybe he could fight off a croc. Or knock a snake on the head with a shovel. Very impressive stuff.