The thing about writing when there’s two of you doing it, is that you have to get used to one another’s idiosyncratic ways. You have to learn about your individual writing styles, about the way one another works and so many more things before you can actually get down and into the process of writing itself. And that honestly, is easier said than done. I’m not saying that we’ve got it down to a fine art – because even now, ten years down the line we both sometimes have our moments of … what?
A prime example of that would be our language. This is something we’ve been looking at, or rather have become more aware of over the last few weeks. Where I’m from the UK, Charlotte is from the Netherlands which already puts us at a slight disadvantage – although Charlotte’s English is pretty much perfect so you’d probably never know it’s not her first language! Ironically, that’s not where most of our language problem comes from.
Our biggest language barrier actually comes from the differences between English and American English. I’ve been brought up with the English language and Charlotte has learnt the American English language. And I can honestly say that I never realised that there were that many differences, sure there’s the spelling but then there are the little phrases here and there. Or words and things that we say but somehow hold an entirely different concept over there and vice versa.
Cotton Candy was the last thing I’d think on as Candy Floss or a popsicle being an ice lolly … and then there’s ‘cooties’ which had me puzzled for the longest time. And there are many more examples in between which I won’t list or it’ll become boring! English, by no means, is an easy language to master – even less so when you consider that there are so many different types and versions of it. Really, someone needs to just sit down with the English language and all its offspring and club it together to make one wholesome language. It’d make life a lot easier on a lot of levels!
And that’s what sometimes makes our writing a little tricky, when you’re writing something and you’re getting lost in the mess and sea that is your character’s feelings, you have to stop and take a step back and answer one another’s ‘what do you mean by that’ question when you’ve got it ready to go. It makes you think in a lot of ways, what do I mean by that? That’s the point when you’re forced to look at your writing and think … do I need that? Could I use something else there to make my point? Does this particular segment actually work? How could I make it better?
So yes, there are times when we might complain about the English language being the absolute worst (whichever version of it we’re using), it does have it’s bonus points here and there. Having to explain your writing is a useful tool, having to explain and to think about why a character would do this and the effect it has on the piece of writing you’re doing. And that, honestly, is one of the better things about having to write and work together. In questioning one another’s language, we’re forcing each other to be better. To do better. And that’s a challenge which I think we do both enjoy – even if it can be frustrating at times!
But that, to many degrees is what the joy of writing is all about!