On Monday I sent my latest manuscript to my agent. It's a bit of a fingernail biting, stress inducing, experience sending your agent the manuscript after the one they signed you for. What if they don't like it? What if I'm a one story wonder? What if they come back and say "Um, try again." What if it's really really bad and you just happen to have critique partners who can't quite bring themselves to tell you?
However, I've had a lot of fun with this story. It's set in Sydney, Australia and features an American heroine and an Australian hero who really really don't get along.
One of the most fun to write components to write has been the differences in language. Yes, they both speak English but you don't realize how different some of our words, phrases and sayings are until you have an American critique partner going "Um what is that?" and "What does this mean?"
For example, Josh sits at a bench at eats his chips with tomato sauce. Paige sits at a counter and eats her fries with ketchup. Josh puts things in a rubbish bin, Paige in a trash can. Josh eats biscuits and drinks soft drink, Paige eats cookies and drinks soda.
Paige doesn't know what it means to prang a car, bring a plate or why someone would be knee-high to a grasshopper. She has to learn how to drive on the left hand side of the road, deal with kilometers per hour instead of miles, celsius instead of fahrenheit and all the seasons being reversed. It all contributes to landing her in some very entertaining predicaments.
Where you really find yourself getting into trouble is when it comes to insult. Words that down here in New Zealand and Australia people wouldn't even blink at I discover are VERY inappropriate to be calling someone in America. Which can create some writing challenges when your hero and heroine do not get on at all initially and there's only so many times you can reuse the very short list of acceptable words that mean the same thing in both countries!
How about you? What things about other English speaking countries cause you to do mental gymnastics? I have to admit whenever I travel to the USA the "tax not included in the price" thing gets me every time :)
If you're an American reader do stories in different countries appeal or are you happier staying close to home? (As a promo for an author and book I have absolutely no connection - if you like contemporary romance and would like to dip your toe in international waters Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano which is based in Scotland is brilliant!)
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