The bilingual story of Sebastian

Dear reader,

As I mentioned before in this post, I have started writing a story in two languages simultaneously. Time has progressed, and so has the story. Both stories are on chapter 35 so far and have grown to over 81,000 words each. To my unrelenting surprise the difference in word-counts is still something to neglect: the difference between the two has not been over 150 words!



The story is progressing well. I refer to it in singular on purpose as it is the same story, whichever the language. I even managed to keep most names identical, be it that some are the English counterpart of the Dutch one (for example Sebastian and Sebastiaan.) The characters are very much alive now, the environment gets more colour and shape, and the dangers that are around are getting worse and more depressing as well. I am very happy that I found people who want to check the Dutch writing as well. I know my Dutch isn’t awful (I have some 50 years practice in it), but typos happen, especially in the parts where writing takes off as I try to keep up with characters and events. It’s fascinating to do this. It also hurts a lot at times.

Hurts? Yes. I already killed several characters and with one in particular that hurt more than usual, as I had to kill that person twice, in each language. Luckily this is balanced by the fun facts that also happen twice then.

Pitfalls and things to think of

Something I had to fix was that I had no Dutch spell checker on my writer’s software, so I had to go after that. Luckily that proved to be a very simple operation, thanks to the brilliant support and website for Writer’s Café. That hurdle taken, I noticed that I had to straighten out my texts. At times I had added Dutch paragraphs to the English file and vice versa. Not very clever, I know, but things happen. They still do, so I shall rely on my test-readers to catch blunders like that.

Another thing to remember is changes. When I adjust something in one version, I have to remember to immediately change that in the other one as well, otherwise things go very wrong. This is something I have to keep in my own hands, as the test-readers for both languages only read that particular language. It’s something I had not realised at first, and it accidentally came to me when I was tracing something back in the Dutch story, knowing I had changed something – after which I discovered that I had only made the change in English!

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