Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


Aussie Slang–Do I need a Glossary?

The novel I’m currently working on, ‘The Road to Karinya’, is written primarily from 1st person point of view, and, as the story is about two girls travelling around Australia, I am using slang occasionally. I don’t think I’m overdoing it and the truth is we’ve become so Americanized now that I’m not even sure which is ours any more! What I’m wondering is should I put in a glossary of slang terms?karinya cover

On the one hand I don’t want to treat readers as idiots–clearly if there’s a word or a term they don’t understand they can google it–and I’m not keen on the whole glossary thing. I don’t think I’d even fill one page with the slang I’ve used and it just seems silly. On the other hand I don’t want to alienate anyone who might have a problem with the lingo.

As I said I don’t think I’ve used that much slang–I’ve just read through the first ten pages and found eight examples that may or may not be Aussie slang. I don’t think the first pages are indicative of the novel over all and there’s probably less slang as the story progresses. I’d appreciate all opinions as to whether these terms need explanation:

barbie; (not my) cup of tea; in good nick; cuppa; goodies; big smoke; write-off; town bike.

They’d all be easier to understand in the right context of course and I think it’s pretty clear that ‘barbie’ isn’t referring here to a doll:

‘We were up bright and early, all ready to head off by eight o’clock. I’d said my goodbyes the day before to all my family; we had a barbie and my four older sisters all managed to turn up, with various husbands, boyfriends and my three nieces.’

Tell me what you think–are readers willing to look up terms they don’t understand?

My collection of short stories ‘Connections‘ is free on Amazon 1st and 2nd November–UK readers here.

Ditto my novel, a story based on a murder trial in 1910 Australia, ‘Her Flesh and Blood‘–UK readers here.

Reviews would be much appreciated, providing they’re positive ones of course!


Back to the joys of self-publishing.

I have digressed . . . and will again, but I’m going to discuss self-publishing and I’d love to hear of your experiences. It has taken me quite some time to get the formatting right–a nightmare, but so satisfying to finally have something up. The book covers were another experience, but kind of fun. CreateSpace allows you to use your own photos as part or all of the cover but also gives you options to just use theirs.

I now have seven books on Amazon, most also on CreateSpace, which is their paperback department. Two that are not are only small ebooks, one a short story, ‘Brown Dog’, which I am putting up free for four days, from tomorrow.

‘Brown Dog’ was based in part on my own experiences living on the beach in Queensland in the early seventies, with my husband. We were very young and not long married, which probably explains why living in a tent, or, after we lost that to a cyclone, sleeping in the car, seemed more of an adventure than a hardship. I may be looking back through rose-coloured glasses but it seems we had a lot of fun in those days, walking along the beach collecting cuttlefish, living day to day on whatever we could find. 

The excitement of finding a glass ball, which fishing boats used on their nets, was rare and very real. They were worth considerably more than cuttlefish and didn’t smell anywhere near as bad! Our car, which we were sleeping in, stank constantly and we sprinkled curry powder, among other things, throughout to try to get rid of the stench. The car then stank of curried cuttlefish, which was only a very slight improvement!

We tried our hand one day cutting sugar cane, which was disastrous. I think it’s all done by machine these days but it was a horrible job to do by hand. We didn’t last long at all and I think, from memory, my husband did the cutting and I may have helped pile the canes up or something. Or possibly just stood around looking helpless. I do remember we were covered in black because they burnt the fields of cane before cutting. 

I also spent some time working at The Big Pineapple, a working farm developed as a tourist spot. That was a great place to work, mainly because we were allowed pretty much free access to all the goodies! Tropical sundaes for morning and afternoon tea every day! Probably just as well I didn’t stay there for long.

Here I am digressing again, but that’s what blogs are for isn’t it? Meandering along, taking detours? Have a look at ‘Brown Dog’. It’s only a few pages and I’d love some feedback. If you like it please post a review on Amazon.

Happy reading.