There seems to be a fundamental difference in how I write stories and how many people think I should write them.
There is much to say about immersion and forgetting that you are reading a story. I get that. I think where things drift apart is how one can achieve this.
I am always very aware that I am writing a story and that on the other end, in the best possible scenario, is a person who reads that story. My job is to make this experience as enjoyable and accessible as possible.
It may not be transactional per se, but it is intentional.
So the question is, do I write from the head of the character or for the head of the reader?
I understand that while people in my fantasy world may not know what a “Tuesday” is, my reader will. And I am certain the people in my fantasy world have names for their days which, if I wanted everybody involved to do that work, I could use.
There is the discussion of “translating” from the secondary world. And if I go hardline on this, the probability that any secondary world uses English is zero. There is always the component of implicitly knowing that. Even if it’s just, let’s say a movie set in the little German village of Großheubach because why not. Even if the movie is produced completely in English there is the understanding that, in reality the people there would be speaking German.
Having them actually do that would work counter to the target audience of English-speaking people. And yet, I do not see the “translation” being an issue here. A Tuesday will be a Tuesday even if it is a Dienstag and people will be herding cats instead of “babysitting a bag of fleas.”
It is understood.
Yet, when I apply this to my fantasy, it is wrong and too much of a stretch? Like, yeah maybe my knight doesn’t know what a disco-ball is but there is certainly an in-world expression of saying his new armour is ridiculously shiny. One we may not get.
Here we get back to me writing for the person who reads it. I want them to know what the connotations are without having to work for it. That means liberally using all the contemporary language I have at my disposal.
But Mel, won’t that date you book?
Yes, yes it will, and I am sure historians of the future will thank me for it. Next question.)
I understand that this is not a thing that works for everybody. But it works. And I will take an easily accessible, understandable, if modern turn of phrase over having to read half a page of background to get the in-world expression substituting for Tuesdays.