To Write an Aussie Story

I’ve been racking my brain since yesterday to come up with an idea for a short story. The deadline for the short story contest is next week and I have yet to type a single word. It’s been a while since I wrote a short story and it was in Tagalog to boot.

Now, I have to come up with a good premise that would be appealing to a primarily Australian readership (not to mention, the judges). There is also the added challenge of writing the dialog in a convincing Australian style.

As an example, I could write a friendly conversation this way:

John: “Hey, Mark! How’re you doing?”
Mark: “John! Yeah, I’m fine.”
John: “So, this is your new car. Looks pretty slick, pal.”
Mark: “You think so? You wanna take her out for a spin?”
John: “For real? Cool! You’re the best, man!”

But, I think it would read more Australian if I write it this way:

John: ‘Oi, Mark! How’s it going?’
Mark: ‘John! I’m good, mate. Yourself?’
John: ‘I’m good. And this must be your new ride. Looks like a bloody beauty, mate.’
Mark: ‘You reckon? You wanna give her a go?’
John: ‘Fair dinkum? Awesome, mate. You legend!’

Okay, so maybe two Australians probably won’t speak exactly the way I wrote it down in the second version but the thing is, I will never know for sure. I’m not a native Australian speaker to begin with. The best I can do is observe and try to mimic their speech patterns. And that’s what I’m worried about. A true-blue Aussie would probably pick up that my version of the dialog isn’t “fair dinkum” at all. That’s why I’m thinking of just writing the way I’ve always wrote. That is, in a more American-slanted English.

Another way I’m thinking of getting around this problem with the speech pattern is to have the lead character a migrant or something. This way, I can write the story in first person and have the migrant narrate the whole thing. It will explain why the writing doesn’t follow Australian conventions except when actual Australian characters speak up in the story.

Well, this problem is actually further down the track. In the meantime, I must first think of a story to write. I wish I come up with something real soon.

Published in: on August 21, 2006 at 12:30 pm  Comments (4)  

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yay! Thanks again for the compliments. I’m glad you think… I mean… reckon that my “Aussie” conversation bit sounded real. That’s definitely a boost to my confidence. 😀

  2. Well, I guess you could call me an ‘Aussie’ (was born here but my ancestry is actually English/Bulgarian) – I think you have the Aussie lingo absolutely down pat!

    JMHO, but the first paragraph sounds a bit stifled and formal, whereas the second sounds, well, real! It’s much more interesting and you can almost picture the characters.

    I’d definately go with the second ‘Aussie’ one!

    PS: your writing is quite good!

  3. Yeah. I’ll certainly consult my Aussie buddies when it comes to it. 🙂

  4. It seems like you’re stuck in a quandary. Hmm…maybe you can ask for help from an Aussie? Ask for their opinion on what they’d say if they’re stuck in a specific situation maybe? Good luck mate! Hahaha….. 🙂

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