Categories Writing articles
When it isn’t okay to say okay
Writing Plague Doctor Three (and Plague Doctor Two) created a few problems.
Linguistic and cultural problems.
Rylee, the main character, is lured back in time from modern San Francisco to 17th. century London.
So far so good, could happen to anyone…
The linguistic problem is, she is from San Francisco so she uses modern American expressions.
But the plague doctor who lures her to 17th. century London uses 17th. century English expressions.
The other 17th. century English characters do the same.
One of these problems is the use of the modern American expression ‘okay.’
This wasn’t in use in 17th. century England so it wouldn’t be a good idea to have a modern American character use it.
Unless you’re a pretty terrible writer who has no idea about linguistic and cultural differences.
To solve the problem I decided to have Rylee use it and have the 17th. century English characters question it.
The following hopefully explains what I mean.
It’s from a scene in ‘Plague Doctor Three,’ but the problem also occurs in ‘Plague Doctor Two.’
I’ve managed to solve it in both stories.
‘She (a 17th. century English character) looked at me suspiciously.
“I’m sure – okay?” I added, to re-assure her.
They laughed when they heard that expression.
“What does okay mean?” the youngest one demanded.’
Rylee then explains what it means.
I’ll explain how I solved the problem of cultural differences between modern San Francisco and 17th. century London in a later article.