You say potato……..

Recently I’ve been writing and more and more I’ve found that I’m double checking words. Not the spelling, we all know I suck at that. No, its words I take for granted that are causing the problem and it got me to thinking about all the words out there that are very typical of where you live but don’t really translate out of that area.

Now I come from North London, which in itself has phrases and words that I’m sure even other Londoners would have problems understanding.

But I think that’s what makes me love writing, not only am I creating worlds where anything can happen, but I am learning new things about places I may never have been too.

In a recent submission to a publisher I used the word “bonnet”. Right now half of you are picturing a cute little hat a lady or baby might wear, aren’t ya…… but that’s not what I meant. I was actually talking about the hood of car. A friend who was reading the draft for me, pulled me up on it. Now you can understand why more and more I’ve had to check the words I’m using.

To me they are every day speak, but to others people I sound like a nutbar more than I do normally!

Where I’m from there is such a diverse amount of ethnic groups that in our everyday language we use words from around the world. I think the UK has always been like that, one giant melting pot and I really love that.

Is there a word or phrase that you’ve read in a book that means something very different where you are from? Or are you a writer who has the same problem as me? Let me know.

On a separate note: Short stories….that’s all I’m saying…. I definitely ain’t telling ya that we might be having  a series of them on this blog soon…nope definitly not me…. I’d never do that and I’m offended you’d even suggest it!

Until next time or as they say where I’m from….let me catch ya inna piece…

Remember….. sighing dramatically when your Dom/me spanks you is just asking for trouble!

9 thoughts on “You say potato……..

  1. As an Aussie author I feel your pain there are many words I use regularly that don’t make sense to non-aussie’s. Tend to stick to my guns with my writing though I set most of my stuff in Aus and I have a bit of as bug bear about americanising words so they’ll be a understood.


  2. I have definitely noticed out of place words in books and they really stick out for me. I also have noticed geographical errors in books. I’m from the Pacific Northwest and there are several books set in this region (and why not? It’s amazing out here!) and it bugs the bejesus out of me when things are described inaccurately. I’m talking roads being described in detail during a car chase scene and they are flat out wrong! I think, whenever possible, an author or publisher should have someone local to the setting read through a book to look for this sort of thing.


  3. Non-US authors – please, PLEASE do not Americanize your words if the story is not set in the US!! And if the character is not American, please let them speak the way they would at home! I love learning new phrases and words.


  4. Cherie–
    I knew what you meant when you said “bonnet” but in NOLA it would be hood. 🙂

    I agree with the commenter — if the book is set outside of the US then the words should express the country in which the book is set. Of course, a bigger issue is translating from English into another language without an Anglo-Saxon tradition. Translations will necessarily reflect the original language/culture and the interpretation/slant of the translator. I wouldn’t want to be the person attempting to translate, let’s say, a Steampunk romance into Chinese. 🙂


  5. I think the best word ever is “thong”!

    In my time (oh man I is old) it was what we called “flip-flops”! I was on FB at a book release party and the author (a new friend as well) was giving away a book thong. That’s what she called it – till we had this discussion – and now its a book “necklace”!

    Of course nowadays we know it as some sexy little undies 😉


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