I said: One gripe I had, and something that might be worth
discussion was the phoenetic spelling of dialect/heavily
accented speech In Christopher Brookmyre's, otherwise
excellent story. I found it really interrupted the
And Al said: I don't know which story you're referring to,
Colin, but I have read a lot of Brookmyre, so I know what you
mean. For anyone who wants an example, the following link has
the story that kick-started Brookmyre's career, "Bampot
Central", in full.
That's the one I have read Al, printed in the Polygon
Scottish Crime anthology, Something Wicked. And I would
reccommend Avians take a look at it - apart from my (minor)
grumble I thought it was excellent.
The second was, is it not enough to tell us that the
characters have strong Scottish accents? That's much easier
to answer. No. There's no such thing as a strong Scottish
accent. For me, at least, such a statement would make the
story instantly unbelievable and obviously written by a
non-Scot (imagine a novel set in Liverpool where the author
stated that the characters had strong English accents, or in
Texas with characters speaking with strong American accents)
For others, I suspect, such a statement(strong Scottish
accent) would create a "Scotty" from Star Trek or Mel Gibson
from Braveheart accent that only exists in television and the
movies. Even if the author were more specific, it still
wouldn't work. For instance, describing the characters as
having strong Glaswegian accents is unlikely to convey
anything at all to most of the people on this list. During
the course of "Bampot Central" Brookmyre never mentions the
robbers are from Glasgow, but he doesn't have to. The
phonetic spelling gives it away pretty quickly.
I say: Sorry about the Scottish accent bit. I didn't get that
they were Glaswegian from the spelling, and in fact assumed
they were working class Edinburgians. There are so many
delineations of place and accent that I think it's probably a
morass that's worth avoiding in most cases: I have what would
broadly be described as a West Country accent - although it's
really quite specifically a North Gloucestershire/Forest of
Dean accent, the number of times I have thrown up my turnips
and pitchfork in disgust when seeing West Country used as a
descriptor of a poorly transcribed bumpkin speak! That, I
think is the problem - you are never going to be good enough,
or local enough for some. I understand the point you are
making, but, I think maybe he went too far. Here's an
"Look, I ken ye're lyin', awright? We've had information. We
ken they're in there. Insurance Bonds, fae Scottish Widows.
They come through here the last Monday o' every month. So
fuckin' get them or I'll fuckin' blow ye away."
Quite understandable, but taking an extra effort to read
(lazy sod I am!). Maybe a few emblamatic words might strike a
better balance, and in general I do slightly recoil from the
device - in whatever or dialect.
I understand what he's doing, but, as you say below, he may
well alienate some (I will be back to find a full length one,
hopefully before next month.)
I've cut what you said below! Sorry. But yep, it is a brave
choice and one I imagine will be "persuaded" out of him by
publishers - does he do the same in full-length pieces?
Still, very much enjoyed the story and will try and ken some
more Brookmyre soon.
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