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Expendable
September 11th, 2006, 10:48 AM
I just wrote a quick flash fiction slice of life/post-apocalpytic story called "Remembering Tony (http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/1890p0.html)" using a lot of the British slang I could remember.

Please take a look and tell me what you think. Here's a link to a American/British dictionary (http://www.ecriteria.net/LinkAutoQuerySearchResult.asp?DBName=Britishisms).
Thank you.

Merancapeman
September 11th, 2006, 11:36 AM
Cripes, that's depressing. You made it feel as though you were writing a biography, especially with the way you describe actions and scenes. For the life of me, I couldn't understand the first half of the story, but it gradually hit me, so I didn't need the dictionary link :D

Aside from the usual grammar problems and paragraph structure (I'm sure one is limited using SFF world as a temporary "Microsoft Word"), I thought it was delightful! The ending got me down, and I didn't understand as well as I'd have liked, but that's just me. Sounded like a nice guy. If it was the beginning of a book or a full-fledge novella, I would have read it all the way through (I say that because I know that's the kind of thing I'd like to hear during a critique, but I'm being honest.).

As the usual, boring critique-er would say: keep up the good work!

Hereford Eye
September 11th, 2006, 03:01 PM
Good story; good characters, not so good dialogue.

It was while the villagers were all huggered up at one of the Major's town meetings that he told them he didn't want to see anyone feeding transients. "It'll only encourage them," he warned. Everyone knew he was talking about me so I went back to scrounging dustbins.
Dialect problem: If this mayor uses “it’ll,” seems likely to me he’s going to elide his pronouns as well so that it ought to read: “It’ll only encourage “em.”
Plotwise:
(1) More than one folk had been feeding her;
(2) Such compassion, despite knowing what happened to her - probably by this very same mayor - indicates an independence in the townspeople not evident in the rest of the story.

Yeah, dustbins. Two years since the cities got all gutted up, petrol gone and everyone off the mains but here in the sticks the dustman still came around to cart away the rubbish.
Dialect problem: If the protagonist is supposed to be Brit, then she can’t use “got” here; that’s a U.S. usage of the word, even in slang. Recommend “went” but will gladly defer to the folk who speak the language.

Not much tat went to tip, mostly he collected the food scraps to feed his hogs.
Okay, mostly for the hogs, but that begs the question of what else he collects it for. Especially when followed up with: “Sounds a bit naff but there were good pickings, amazing what some would bung out.”
Dialect: education creeping in again: ‘there were’ strikes me as a more refined expression than what I would expect coming “after sounds a bit naff.” A person speaking colloquialisms does so consistently.

These kinds of things give me the feeling this a U.S. person trying to speak as her Brit associates do. Don’t think that’s what your after. Think you want a Brit waif dealing with a Brit township. Need to look at every quote and try to put yourself into the Brit countryside to get more than just the slang words but the rhythm and feel of the language as well.

Jacquin
September 11th, 2006, 03:46 PM
It was while the villagers were all huggered up at one of the Major's town meetings that he told them he didn't want to see anyone feeding transients. "It'll only encourage them," he warned. Everyone knew he was talking about me so I went back to scrounging dustbins.

What is huggered? I don't recognise it, I can get the meaning form context but is this supposed to be an English word? Why are you scrounging dustbins? That comes across as if you were going round asking people for their bins. I guess this isn't what you were meaning. Scrounging is done from people in the same way begging is. I guess you are scavenging.


Yeah, dustbins. Two years since the cities got all gutted up, petrol gone and everyone off the mains but here in the sticks the dustman still came around to cart away the rubbish. Not much tat went to tip, mostly he collected the food scraps to feed his hogs. Sounds a bit naff but there were good pickings, amazing what some would bung out.

I don't like "got all gutted up" It works in a London accent, but it doesn't fit with the rest of the speech. Things go to the tip, not to tip. Also we don't call them Hogs, pigs is just fine. Bung out is very dated, chuck out is more believable.


But while I was nosing around Widow Kerr's dustbin I caught her taking a butchers at me from her kitchen window. I pushed right off - I knew if I narked her, she might grass me out to the Major. Everyone knew he was barmy for her, even before her husband died the first winter defending the barricades.

This reads like it was written by Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. You need to lose some of the slang. Also you grass someone up, not out.

I'll stop now, but if you want an English English-speaker to go through the whole lot PM me.

Oh, I like the idea btw, it just sounds very American... You should bear in mind that accents and terminology change roughly every 20 miles in England. Where I grew up I could tell the difference between someone from my home town and the next town simply from their accent. It's also worth bearing in mind that we still have a number of different dialects which are all mixed in together in a "British" dictionary, you simply can't mix Yorkshire with Cockney, or Geordie with Scouse.

J

Expendable
September 11th, 2006, 08:07 PM
Thank you all, this helps alot. =^_^=

kater
September 12th, 2006, 09:17 AM
I like it, the use of slang (which is a real muddle in itself :) ) seems redundant and forced on the first page but once you start just telling the story, it's very enjoyable.

KatG
September 12th, 2006, 10:20 AM
Lovely plot. The text is uneven, because you hit us with the slang in the first bit, and then that virtually drops away from the narrative voice on the second bit.

So at first, we get: "Sounds a bit naff but there were good pickings, amazing what some would bung out."

And then we get: "I needed no more urging. Pausing only to give Widow Kerr a hug, I headed out of town, only glancing back to make sure the Yank was following me."

Where did the slang go? The dialect of the internal pov does seem a little forced. I'd take our Brits up on the offer of vetting it for you, but I think you can probably get the kinks out. Characterizations are terrific.

MrBF1V3
September 12th, 2006, 06:10 PM
Yeah, I agree. Good story, will improve with editing. As for the language, I wouldn't know the difference so none of it bothered me. As a reader I don't want to reach for a dictionary, even if I don't know the word. Even an unknown word is okay if there is enough context to clue me in.

I would suggest a bit more information near the end. I'm not saying give it away, but she knew what he had done--maybe more of a hint there of what he intended, and let the result be the 'aha'.

I guess the English are nicer. In the same situation an American character would torch the mayor's barn.:)

B5

Dawnstorm
September 12th, 2006, 06:36 PM
Love your characters, as usual. Especially love 7's non-verbal communication. Like the ending.

All the criticism I would have has been addressed.

BrianC
September 12th, 2006, 09:36 PM
Lovely little slice of life. Well lovely writing, not the slice of life. Actually the slang brought up a 'tang' of Burgess, me droogie, nicely done and all, but if it's a future story, think a biddie about how the slang might've warped a bit by its history.