1- Genre: fantastique 2- 7,000 mots (une fois fini) Ça fait plusieurs fois que je réécris mon début. J'en ai besoin pour me lancer. Je veux créer une impression de mystère. Qu'en pensez-vous? Trop lent? N'hésitez pas à me donner des commentaires en anglais si vous êtes plus à l'aise en lecture qu'en écriture.
Pénélope a peine à discerner le paysage tant la brume est dense. Ses bras tiennent fermement le volant. Elle plisse les yeux et se concentre sur la petite route de campagne zigzagante. Reste à gauche, reste à gauche se répète-t-elle à plusieurs reprises. Elle n’arrive pas à s’habituer à la petite voiture anglaise qu’elle a louée à l’aéroport plus tôt en matinée et ne cesse de chercher le levier de vitesse de la main droite. Un signe routier lui apparaît soudainement. Elle se range sur l’accotement pour sortir un papier froissé de son sac à main. C’est la carte du centre-ville de Brougham, sa destination. Pénélope ferme les yeux puis inspire fortement, un truc qui ne manque jamais de la calmer. Un instinct la guide. Elle ne sait
[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited November 29, 2007).]
Here's my smoothing of the babelfish translation:
quote:Pénélope could hardly distinguish the landscape, the fog was so dense. Her arms held the wheel firmly. She squinted her eyes and concentrated on the narrow, winding country road.
Remain on the left, remain on the left she repeated to herself. She was still not accustomed to the small English car she'd rented at the airport earlier that morning, and her handkept trying to find the gear shift lever with her right hand.
A road sign appeared suddenly. Pénélope pulled over to the curb, pulling a rumpled paper from her purse. It was the map of downtown Brougham, her destination. Pénélope closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, a trick which had never before failed to calm her. She let instinct guide her, not knowing
Babelfish translated this into present tense, and kept translating into third person present tense, neutral gender. The neutral gender might work in French, it doesn't work in English. I personally don't like present tense for storytelling.
I get a sense of tension, but other than the idea of a French woman driving in England, I don't know what will happen. I don't know what genre (no fantasy or sci fi elements, could be near history, mystery, thriller, travelogue). I don't know Pénélope's age, although I'm getting a sense she is young.
I'd like more hook in the beginning, more sense of her thoughts and the facts of why she is going to Brougham (to meet a lover, perform an assassination, kidnap a child...?). I'm assuming the fog symbolizes something about her state of mind, but I'd like to know.
Anyway, it's fun. I'm not sure how smooth the writing is in French since I'm looking at a twice masticated version (chewed first by babelfish and then by me). Good luck!
[This message has been edited by meg.stout (edited November 30, 2007).]
Plume - je serais heureux de lire votre histoire si vous voulez l'envoyer a mon addresse electronique. Je vous avertis que c'etait longtemps que j'ai parle francais, mais avec beaucoup d'assistance de mon dictionnaire, je pense que je peux vous donnez un bon commentaire.
(I don't know how to make this thing do accent marks... And sorry for any bad grammar...)
quote:This is an English forum. Please do not use the foreign language
Meh - I'm assuming most people just won't bother to comment. If she who sees all (and who saw Plume's post because she edited it) has a problem with foreign postings, she can do the "Please do not use..."
I'm assuming also that your response was meant to be humorous.
Thank you Meg - It is slow to start in the original version as well. In your opinion, is it acceptable to have a little bit of mystery in the first few paragraphs or is it better to get right into the action? The girl that is driving is going to this specific place in England to retrieve artefacts (which are the main focus of this story).
BoredCrow - I can certainly email you the text once it`s done. Thanks for the offer.
Ok - Here is another version. I try to get into it sooner.
Un signe routier se dégage du brouillard. Pénélope range sa voiture de location sur l’accotement. À gauche, reste à gauche! Elle sort un papier froissé de son sac à main. C’est la carte du centre-ville de Brougham, sa destination. Pénélope ferme les yeux puis inspire fortement, un truc qui ne manque jamais de la calmer. Un instinct la guide. Elle ne sait comment l’expliquer. Un besoin très fort d’avancer dans une direction précise. Elle pense aux oiseaux migrateurs et aux papillons monarques qui parcourent des milliers de kilomètres chaque année en suivant une route préétablie. Les biologistes arrivent à peine à explique ce mystère. L’attraction des pôles? Elle songe aux saumons qui remontent la rivière où ils sont nés pour y frayer. Pour se reproduire, mais aussi pour y mourir.
No offense, but since you seem fluent in English, and no one speaks French here, and translating it through babelfish is rather a pain (not to mention it might erode your prose), why don't you post in English and then translate it yourself? Just a thought.
[This message has been edited by annepin (edited November 30, 2007).]
I read French, however my writing is atrocious (my spellings are always off to the extent that my meaning is obscured) so I'm going to comment in English if you don't mind too terribly. . .
The first change that I would make is to add breaks at the start of À gauche, reste à gauche! and also Elle pense because those are starting new ideas and not having the breaks made me have to think about the words and progressions for a moment.
I loved your prose, it was neat and brought your point across nicely, much better than your first draft which drug on for a bit before really beginning.
C'est Magnifique. (edited because I can't spell English any better than I can French)
[This message has been edited by tigertinite (edited November 30, 2007).]
Plume - You're a lot closer in the second version- though I liked the fog in the first version. It still could use some tweaking. I'm interested enough in the fact that a formless instinct is guiding her without all the thoughts about what instinct means.
As for the question you asked Meg... Mystery can be a great way to start things, IF it raises questions in the readers' minds as to what the mystery is about!For example (and I'm going to have to write this in English - I'm much better at reading French than writing it.)
"An instinct guided Penelope. She'd had the inexplicable urge to search out the artifacts because of the persistant visions of a woman wearing a coronet. Blood dripped down the woman's arm."
Okay, that's REALLY poorly written (and I don't know if her instinct is strong enough to produce visions), but do you get what I meant? It gives a taste of what we're going to get in the story while still being mysterious. Who is the woman? What does the coronet mean? Why is she bleeding?
My post was a weak attempt at humor. I hope no one thought I was seriously telling people what they should and shouldn't post. (Perhaps some of the joking tone of the original was lost in translation. ) Anyhow, sorry if I offended anyone.
BoredCrow, tigertinite - Very useful feedback. Merci. Comments in English work fine with me. I'll work with your new ideas. This forum is what I was looking for. I need fantasy writers guidance more than French grammar lessons.
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I can't do a proofread on a translation. However, I have this great epic love poem in Latin I'd love to share... Only fooling. Perhaps this discussion will teist a little towards the techniques and dangers of translations... I'll definitely refer back to see the interest. Posts: 121 | Registered: Sep 2002
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I liked the first version better. The second version was so concise that I lost a sense of Penelope which I had in the first version. Also, the extended ramblings on Penelope's thoughts about homing butterflies, etc., didn't give me much insight into what is going on.
FWIW, here is what Babelfish did to your second version...
quote:A road sign is released from the fog. Pénélope arranges its rented car on the verge. On the left, remains on the left! It leaves a ruffled paper its bag to hand. It is the chart of the downtown area of Brougham, its destination. Pénélope closes the eyes then strongly inspires, a trick which never fails to calm it. An instinct the guide. It does not know how to explain it. A very strong need to advance in a precise direction. It thinks of the migratory birds and the butterflies monarchs which traverse thousands of kilometers each year while following a preestablished road. The biologists hardly arrive at explains this mystery. The attraction of the poles? It thinks of the salmons which go up the river where they were born to clear there. To reproduce, but also to die there.
Jon, no apologies needed (for me at least). I must have forgotten to take my "have a sense of humor" vitamins for the day.
Alas, a friend brought me and my family presents from Japan, and I realized I really wished I could somehow get babelfish to translate the labels, but I have no idea how I would even begin to get the characters into the computer in a manner that babelfish could process...