Jul. 8th, 2017

dreamer_easy: (*writing 7)
I've read a chapter and a short story recently with Japanese settings (one modern, one mediaeval), both written by Westerners, both of which struck me having a stiff and artificial style which I want to avoid in my own fiction. I don't know Japanese culture well enough to nitpick the research, but in the case of the modern one in particular the details seemed intrusive and anachronistic. I've just realised now, typing this, the possible problem with both narratives: they're told by non-Japanese writers from the POV of Japanese characters. I have read enough to know that an actual mediaeval story in translation, or a chapter written by a modern Japanese writer, would sound quite different. It's another reason to stick to (for example) non-Korean characters' POVs in stories where I use Korean characters or setting: as a monoglot with a very limited experience of the world, I cannot write authentically from inside another living culture. (I may eventually be able to get across the flavour of a historical Korean narrative, but I have an awful lot of reading to do first.)

(I've just been reading a dirty manga to which I decline to link you, but it comes with wonderful notes by a fan translator, who explains the extra meanings conveyed by the author's choice of kanji. It made me think of sign language, which can pack in so much more information in the same amount of time it takes to speak the equivalent sentence in English. I suppose the only way English can compete at all is with its gargantuan vocabulary.)


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