As I’ve mentioned before, my current writing project is a novel based on my real life internet dating experiences. I’m working in real emails and texts that I exchanged with the scam artist who romanced me then asked for money. In the process of crafting those emails and texts into a readable book, I’ve been forced to edit Antonio, my scammer.
The question I’ve been struggling with is exactly how much can I edit before I lose his voice?
Antonio Giovanni, my scammer, said he was born in Italy and living in South Dakota. I believe this was simply a ruse to cover over his imperfect English. His grammar and use of the proper tense of verbs, adverbs and adjectives was pretty bad at times. Problem is, that was part of his cover. I believe he is really in Malaysia. So if I edit out all of his writing errors, I lose part of his character in my story, the scammer posing as an Italian immigrant in America.
BUT … who wants to read a novel full of grammatical errors? Ah, not you see my conundrum.
So, I’ve been doing my best to walk a fine line and edit Antonio’s errors down to a minimum while retaining enough to keep the foreign flavor of his character. Let me tell you, it’s not easy. I’m having to have the woman being scammed in the book comment every so often on his errors just so the reader of the novel will remember they are in there intentionally. That’s another issue. I don’t want my readers to think I MADE THE MISTAKES Antonio did.
So the question is … how do you take an email and make it sound like it’s a man from Malaysia posing as Italian immigrant living in South Dakota as written by a woman from Long Island who lives in Florida?
Yep. That’s me, always the difficult one. 🙂