Saturday, 21 August 2010

Everything's better with lesbians; even zombies and a language lesson

I'm going to have to do two versions of this next novel. I'm writing it in first person, alternating views between the two main characters, and it is being written in Lowland.

A lot of people think the way Scottish people talk is just slang, but we actually have three languages in Scotland. Highland Scots is normally called gaelic. Lowland Scots is the one most people think of as slang. Scotch is an alcoholic drink, which we call whiskey. The third language is English.

Am gonnae hae tae dae twa versions ay this yin. Am scrievin it in first person, alternatin views twixt twa main characters, an its bein scrieved in Braid Scots.

A wad ae fowk hink the wie Scottish people blether is aw jeest slang, but thur's three languages in Scotland. Hielan Scots is normally cauld gaelic. Braid Scots is the wan maist fowk hink ay as bein slang. Scotch is a drink, wi caul whiskey. The third language is English.

Scots the wikipedia page

It will be hard for non-Scots to read, and not just for the language barrier. I'll throw up a list of words, see how many you can understand.


These words are really common. Rarer words will be harder to understand.

Sowans nicht

Making this list, I've come to realise something. It is often said that Scotland has two weeks of snow, two days of sunshine and the rest of the year it rains. Stoat and smirr both relate to the rain, and dreich, and drippit and more beside have something to do with rain. I'm wondering if we have more words to describe rain than any other country in the world. Possibly.

Added to the words, there are calender words such as hogmanay (possibly obvious), first foot, Trades and Fayre, and so on. Trades is the first two weeks in July, Fayre the next fortnight in July.

Then there are the expressions, such as "lang mae yer lum reek," which means I hope you always have good fortune, and "yer erse is oot the windae" which means "You are unlikely to achieve the desired result with that kind of behaviour." That last comes from a BBC website because I found it funny.

And then there's all the grammatical differences, such as the fact we use how and why interchangeably, or that the plural of ee is een, or that an comes before a consonant and a before a vowel except if an comes before the an that comes before a vowel.

Yeah, you're thinking what the fuck, right? An is used in place of and, so if you were to say and an apple it would be an a aiple. Notice that when the d falls off of and, it isn't replaced with an apostrophe. This is because in Scots there is no d, so it isn't missing. Some people put apostrophes in when they aren't required, and these are called apologetic apostrophes.

Anyway, enough of the language lesson. It is enough to say I have decided my next novel will be in Scots, which will make finding beta readers really hard. And editors.

The thing is, my next novel is a zombie book. I'm not going to say its title yet, but when I recently told Zoe Winters the title and she immediately hearted me. Really, it has an awesome title. People want to buy it on that alone, without even hearing the synopsis.

But it's not just the title that's awesome. Here are a few teasers.

"Be careful out there. There are zombies everywhere."
"It's okay, I'm a hairdresser."
"What the fuck has that got to do with there being zombies out there?"

Lesbians make everything better.

"My dead dog is chasing the neighbour's dead cat along the stream, and all you can say is that it works?"
He considered for a moment. "It fucking works?"

It also has a really hilarious sex scene, some moments of gross out horror (a scene with a dog springs to mind) and parts that are so sad I cried as I wrote them. Okay, I didn't cry, but it is sad.

I actually wrote this in 2004, I'm just reworking it, getting rid of plot-holes, modernizing.

It is set in Denny, a small town in Scotland where I grew up.

I'm going to put it out in an English version, too, but the Scottish one will come first.

You'll love it, trust me. Especially you, Mike.


  1. I think I love it already. But if lesbians make everything better (which theory I'll buy) and bacon makes everything better (which is Newton's 4th Law of Immutable Shite about the Universe) does that mean lesbians are bacon? Can't wait for the English version!

  2. I think it means when you die you go to a place where lesbians make you bacon. I'm thinking the English version might be first as it is half-written.

    Thanks for the comment, John.