FantasyPosted by Hans Olsson Thu, May 07, 2015 19:21:59
Now I've read all the short stories in the
anthology ”Waiting for the machines to fall asleep” and I have some thoughts
about it. It's tubular (I'll explain it further down)!
And I'll write this blog post in English, since
I hope some of the English speaking readers have found their way here.
First a few thoughts on my own work: While
writing my own contribution ”Melody of the Yellow Bard” I learned a lot of
useful things about writing in a language that's not my own. I consider myself
to be fairly good with the English language, but then again, it's not my native
tounge. This brought on a few challenges, for example which words to chose in
what situation, or the fact that you treat commas in dialogue differently in
Swedish than in English. I also learned that it's very hard to have that instinctive
feel of the language, as you have with your own native language. It's a challenge,
but a real fun one!
As an example, how do you treat dialogues so
they sound natural? Someone suggested that the people talking should mention
each others names more, but for me that's not working at all. I can't see (or
hear) people talk that way and make it sound natural.
A: One example might sound like this (using the
characters from my short story):
”How are you, Rasmus?”
”I'm good, Clayton. How are you?”
”I'm good thanks, Rasmus, how are you?”
"I beg your pardon, I think you just asked
B: Or you can do it like this, making it sound
(to me) more natural:
”Hi there!” Rasmus waved at Clayton.
”What do you mean? Are you Millhouse?”
”What? No... I just... Forget it.”
To me the option A sounds like they're both
salesmen, trying to impress each other by thoroughly knowing each other name
and repeating it every chance they get. Maybe it's just me. But I also think
there might be a cultural difference. Maybe I'm writing in Swedish-English
rather than English-English. This was one of the biggest challenges while
working with ”Melody of the Yellow Bard,” but also one of the more fun ones. Hence
I chose to keep my own Swedish touch to my story, and I'm very happy with it. Is
it good for you to read? Who the hell knows, but in the end I'm very happy with
how ”Melody of the Yellow Bard” turned out. And I hope that you find it good as
well. If you read this blog post I guess you were curious enough to go here, at
So what about the rest of the short stories?
First of all: There was an interesting
observation from one of the reviewers; that most of the short stories are
gloomy, downbeat and ends with the protagonists' death or something similar. Does
this mean that Swedes have a pessimistic view of the world? Or perhaps a
realistic one? I don't know, and I can only speak for myself. As for ”Melody of
the Yellow Bard” I was inspired by lots of things, but to mention two sources;
Lovecraft (the sense of an outside, neverending threat appeals to me), and Will
Murrays short story ”What brings the void”. These two examples has a certain
touch to them which really inspired me.
And I should clarify that "inspired by Lovecraft" does not mean that I use his mythos. It simply means "inspired".
Anyway, in an anthology there are usually a few
good short stories that appeals to me. In ”Waiting for the machines to fall
asleep” I find most of them extremely good, fun and worth reading. Not all
stories are for me, but that's also the beauty of an anthology. You get the
mix, wether it's for your or not. I think one of the reasons that it works out
so well is the language. Each author has their own voice, and ”speaking” it in
a foreign language really works.
I'm very proud to be part of this, and thanks
to Peter Öberg and the other authors who made reading it a great experience. It
really is tubular!
Oh yeah, ”tubular”. I like video games, and
when I grew up I played Nintendo games mostly. In Super Mario World, to SNES,
you can find the Special World. In here there are 8 levels. For example we have
the levels ”Groovy”, ”Awesome” and ”Way Cool”, which are words to express
something... well, cool. And there was also this one level called ”Tubular”. So
as a kid I thought this was a word equivalent to ”Awesome”, ”Cool” or
”Fantastic”. It has never left me since, although today I understand the logic
of a level called ”Tubular” (!) in a Mario game. It's pretty tubular, come to
think of it. And while I'm on that topic, the koopas are commonly known as
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