Not a block as such, but some of you may be in a position to answer a research question far easier and quicker than I could!
I’m trying to find out how internationally recognised a particular brand is. In particular, I’m interested know if “Dulux” would instantly be known as a make of paint to an American (and if not, what a better alternative might be).
Heh, I used to spend my summers in grad school doing painting, and I’ve never heard of that brand. Granted, these were industrial-type shops, so they didn’t use the same brands that your average Joe would find at Home Depot. I’d say surf their website and see what’s on sale. Glidden’s a safe choice. A nation-wide chain would have brand names likely to be in all parts of the country. (See also the Helmann’s/Best Foods dichotomy in mayonnaise brands.)
Not familiar to me either. I’d have gone with Sherwin-Williams if I was trying to come up with a brand that’s well known (which also has it’s own stand-alone stores… or did so within the last 10 years). Glidden might also work, but if you just said “Glidden” with no context, I don’t know that I’d have been able to identify it as a paint brand. Even though I’ve owned a couple of houses, and have done a lot of interior painting, I still had to look up “house paint” on google to remind myself of the paint store/brand that I ended up using.
Thanks all! It sounds like there isn’t an overlap between the US and UK brands which is a shame. I like the cadence of the word Dulux in the sentence, but since the word is conjuring up images of a bizarre contraceptive laxative (*) to the US audience it might be safest to pass! Looks like I might need to just say “paint”.
i I suppose all laxatives have at least an indirect contraceptive effect. [/i]
Achievement unlocked, as KB might say.
(his ambitions are clearly more lofty than mine).
I’ve thought about this. The book is set in London, so a UK brand name is not only appropriate to be used, but a likely thing for someone to say. But although the book is set in the UK, I’m not trying to create a quaint UK folksy charm. It just happens to be set there because it needs to be set somewhere. The context would strongly imply that it was a paint brand name, but not conclusively define it as such. Take the following example…
Even though the example has the word “painted” right in there, it could give you pause if you didn’t already know what Qualflex was. Is it a paint? Maybe it’s what they call honey in the UK and Dave is trying to attract bees. What possible benefit is there to putting contraceptive laxatives on the walls? Didn’t he read the label?
Which gives me another problem: I can change the brand name to simply “paint”, but then I need to change the verb to something else because I don’t want to say “took a tin of paint and painted it”. Trouble is, the verb that means to put paint on the walls in the manner the manufacturer intended is “to paint”. Anything else in that context is going to sound weird, and again give the reader that little beat that I’m trying (a little too hard) to avoid.
It seems the best thing I can do to solve the problem is to put the writing on hold while I prepare a strategy to help Dulux attain a dominant position in the US market, and then come back and finish chapter 12.
It’s a personal preference. I just know it’s best to avoid the “eggshell”.
When I paint anything, a more appropriate verb is “splatter”, “smudge”, “splodge” or “drip”. Closely followed by “swear mildly”.
Had you thought of changing the generic noun instead of the verb, P G Wodehouse-style? “He took a tin of the old eggshell and painted it on the walls” or “He took a tin of Valiant Vermilion and painted it on the walls”?
I like your procrastination style. Keith developed Scrivener solely to avoid having to crack on with his novel, and you are planning world domination in the pigment arena as a distraction technique!
“He took a tin of high-gloss and painted it on the wall.”
I think that would work for most everyone. I’ve read the recommendation to not spell things out toooo much for the reader, let them fill in the blanks. I think they will assume paint unless there is a strong reason not to (unless this is a highly critical nuance to the story).
Of course your idea of increasing the laxative supply in the US has merits also.
If you’re set in the UK, how would the character get a brand of paint in the US? I’d be sitting there wondering how the hell the person managed to either have the money to ship it or get it past customs, and I’d completely miss the plot.
I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t alienating the US audience with a UK brand name!
Okay, so… “Dave opened a tin of matt emulsion and started painting it on the walls” would work? Everyone in the US, Australia, UK and other English speaking target markets would understand that “Matt Emulsion” is a type of paint and I’m not trying to introduce a new character mid chapter?
I will toss in, that many of us in the US (at least in my circle of friends) have a bit of fascination with the “original English” and the UK in general. Reading/hearing things in “UK English” is interesting and not a bother. Sometimes it takes a little bit of figuring out, but it’s usually not that bad.
I know the Harry Potter publishers changes some words to make it more “US” like, and maybe for the kids in the audience it helped somebody, but I would rather see the UK side anyhow
This is a perfect example of why there are different English Language editions of books for the UK and the US, despite our protestations that we know what a “lift” is.
You could be faffing* about for ages trying to find a brand/description of paint that gives your sentence a more specific locale, when you could just write, “Dave opened a tin of paint, plunged his brush in, and started slathering institutional green on the walls, spreading the runny mess before it reached the floor.”** Only, you know, making it sound all UK-ish without using words that are opaque to your readers. Maybe he’s covering over graffiti that misspells “bollocks,” if you want to paint the setting with london-coloured emulsion.
*I’ve obviously been listening to and reading too many of you UK types.