I've spent the last week Ozifying a 77,000 word document. Don't bother looking up that word, I just pulled it from you know where - I needed a word to describe what I was doing when people asked, and pretty much everyone got what I meant.
I don't know if that's because the people that asked already have a fair idea of what the project is, or if it's because I live in Australia where stupid made up words get thrown into the public lexicon pretty regularly. With the heavy accent, the relaxed pronunciation and the absurd amount of idioms and slang, you get used to figuring language out on the fly.
For those who speak normal English; I've basically been making my manuscript more Australian.
It's a first person account of events surrounding the end of the world, down under. This narrator is a character in the story, and as such he's writing just like he, and everyone else that's still around, speaks now days.... then days? When days? What's the tense for a fictional account set in the future, but written in a past that's still ahead of where we are now?
Originally I wasn't going to do this, it was just going to be a run of the mill journal that's written in basic English. Maybe a few slang words thrown in, along with the few that sneaked in because I incorrectly assumed that everyone on the planet uses them, but besides that it was going to be a pretty standard affair. But I was talking to a few people on Twitter and one of them suggested that I watch the Aussie zombie film - Wyrmwood.
I don't usually go for the cringy sort of humor - I've never been able to get past the first 10 minutes of The Office, and getting into Parks and Recreation was difficult at first (but fear not, I was quickly converted!) so Wyrmwood struck a bad cord with me the very moment I saw the poster. I have to be honest though, while production value was the typical Aussie-Horror low, it was actually a fantastically unique zombie story.
It was just so... Australian! At one point, a guy literally busts out of a shed wearing Ned Kelly's armor, it's hilariously ocker. Despite the unrealistic number of guns and the ridiculous amount of people just wandering around the outback, I really enjoyed it. It brought something fresh to the table, which is pretty impressive at this point for the zombie horror genre.
And it got me thinking about my own story; it's set in Australia, so why was I not taking advantage of that? There are countless post apocalyptic stories set in the United States, the easiest path to differentiate my story from all of them is to take advantage of the unique setting. And since it's written in the first person, I could have the whole bloody thing written like a true blue yarn from the great southern land.
I'm not going to lie; it was hard to go back and change a lot of the spelling and wording, and I know it's going to leave some people shaking their heads and running to Google. A lot of it is everyday slang we use, some of it is the rarer stuff that even we roll our eyes at, while the most prominent feature is the way that words are written like we say'em. It'll be hard to not read this in an Aussie accent. Despite all this, I think the changes really add something to the story beyond simply differentiating it from a potentially similar story that's set in the states, the changes actually mesh really well with some of the stories themes.
The manuscript has to sit there for a while now, I've need to get some artwork and graphics finished, then I can get a professional edit done to ensure that I haven't let any (unintentional) spelling errors get through. After all that, it'll be time to get it published.
I'm looking forward to it, I really hope people get a kick out of it.