If you trot around Instagram or any other more or less social place where I dump stuff about my Dutch books, you may have noticed something about someone called Otto. In full: Ottomar van Breekelenburgh-Hoofmeyer. I admit, that’s quite a mouthful, but that is the name of a character I came up with for a writing experiment in Dutch.
The story is about a Dutch vampire who gets turned into this kind of creature in the 17th century in the Dutch town of Vlaardingen. (Good luck pronouncing that; I know Dutch isn’t easy for non-natives.)
The story is progressing quite nicely so I had the idea to translate (rewrite) a few chapters into English and post them here on the blog bit by bit, as I do with the Dutch chapters. Perhaps ‘chapter’ is a big word for the parts that are between 1000 and 1300 words so far, but it feels like a fun idea.
Why vampires? Some days ago I started watching the Vampire Diaries on Netflix and that brought back memories of long ago when I was writing stories on a mailing-list called “Quillings”. There was a complete Vampire Council there and with a large, world-wide group of people we all added to the (immense) story-line.
I still recall that one of the vampires I was writing about was someone from Poland and I called him Jerzy, because I know someone from Poland who has that name.
It was great fun working out all the problems of the Vampire Council and something left a trace in me. And so Ottomar, or more current: Otto, was born.
To give you a taste of the story, here’s the start of what I have written in English so far.
1 – The old cemetery
I am Otto. Okay, officially I am Ottomar van Breekelenburgh-Hoofmeyer, but most people think that’s too long. So do I, by the way, but that’s the family I was born into.
Let’s try this again. I’m Otto. Otto van Bree. And I have a problem. My problem is that I’m allergic to blood. You’d think that is an easy thing to get over but when you’re a vampire, that shines a new light on it, doesn’t it? It’s like a living person being allergic to food. And since food is survival, and not eating is… putting a different spin on life. Sure, I’m not bothered by dying because I’m already dead. I did mention something about a vampire, didn’t I? That’s me, and also that’s why I am here and now where I’m originally from.
I belong in the 17th century. That’s where everything started. That’s where I was born as the child of normal people and that’s where I grew up. That is where I learnt to read and write, because my parents were doing pretty well, and that’s where I fell in love for the first time. And bitten. No, the biting wasn’t part of the first love; she wasn’t a vampire.
You know… the weird thing is that I had just spent an evening visiting her and her family when it happened. It had been a wonderful evening. Annegien and I sat next to each other and sometimes we even held hands. Now I can hear you think: is that a fun evening with your sweetheart? Let me tell you that things were very different from the twenty-first century, but of course, you young ones wouldn’t know about that. Annegien’s parents trusted me because they knew and trusted my family. The Van Breekelenburgh-Hoofmeyer family was well respected and that gave me certain privileges. Like holding Annegien’s hand at her home. You can’t hear me sigh but I could have had a wonderful life with her.
That’s the style you can expect. Let me know if this is something you like it so far, even though it’s just a small snippet.
Have a great day!