1. NotTonightJosephine
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    NotTonightJosephine New Member

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    Mission impossible?

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by NotTonightJosephine, Oct 19, 2015.

    Hello there. First of all, English is not my native language. Just to let everyone know. In total I actively speak, read and write in 3 languages and I'm learning 4th language at the moment, which wasn't really my choice, but my life made it happen, so in way I have to. Never the less, I like languages and the more I learn, the more I want to learn. Even though English is not my native language, I decided to write my first book in English. After a lots of thinking, it was still a hard decision to make. Which is why I came here, to gain some knowledge and perhaps to find a few beta-readers in exchange for some of my skills, like designing covers, helping with logic or just giving my honest opinion, when asked, or when I very much want to give it.

    Have to admit, my spelling often sucks and I have troubles with a, an and the, which for the time being I use intuitively, the way I feel I should use it, in stead of really knowing how to use it, when to use it and when not to. But I'm working on it. And it's not that much because I might be a dumb (or even uneducated) person, but but because learning English was very traumatic for me in many ways. Naturally, also my vocabulary is limited. I was discouraged many times, not only regarding my English, but with many other things in my life, which is the reason that I have become very stubborn person and I mostly pee against the wind. Yet, I by default respect everyone, unless disrespect has been shown to me. As for the rest, like most other artists out there, I too am very bad businessman, even though in my private life many folks told me they'd kill if they could have at least some of my talents. But what can you do, no one is perfect. And so, while speaking languages, doing graphic design, being able to paint and do good photography, just to name some of those talents (although I wouldn't call it that way, but I don't know for better expressions.. I worked hard for all that), yet I'm unable to find an extra job which is necessary to survive, so I figured out that maybe I must write some books and tell a couple of amazing stories. And I didn't make such a decision because I always felt there's something extraordinary going on in my life, but also because many people I met told me that I should definitely write my stories.

    What a better moment to start doing it, than when you've been living your dream, and life just makes you kiss the floor, like it happened so many times before? Therefore, perhaps it's time now to break that circle?

    Well, that's me. Have a great day everyone!
     
  2. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    Hello and Welcome!
    I wasn't sure if I should call you just Josephine, or Nottonight?
    I am a newbie too, so just wanted to send my welcome.
    Unlike you, I am terrible at languages. I had French parents, and I know I spoke French when I was young because I once found a recording where I was doing it, but I completely lost it... to the point where I had to ask my mother what I was saying on the recording. I have tried to learn other languages, but I just can't say the words right. So I applaud you for having this talent. Then on top of that, you have a talent I have always wished I had... graphic design. But I am horrible, I mean really horrible at anything visual arts related. So, right now, you are my hero and I haven't even read your written works yet!
    I look forward to reading your works!
     
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  3. NotTonightJosephine
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    NotTonightJosephine New Member

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    Uh oh, how can I be your hero so fast? :) I assume it's just an expression. About my nickname, well, call me whatever you want. I picked that phrase "Not tonight Josephine" because nothing better came to my mind when picking a nickname for this forum. Once upon a time, one of my ex-girlfriends used that phrase when I refused to make love to her after she pissed me off, so she said "Not tonight Josephine, huh?!" that night and it stayed in my mind ever since. Of course I googled on it to find out where it comes from.. but that aside. As for talents vs. languages, once again I say, I had to work hard for all that, so not sure if I'd call it talents at all. To give you an idea, my English teacher used to be a monster, she used to beat us when we were just little kids (yeah, ashamed to say it, you'll probably think I come from some banana republic, while I'm in fact proud of where I come from) and I naturally developed very negative attitude towards English language. To make it even worse, many years later British and American aeroplanes bombed my country, while my people didn't do any evil to UK, or USA, whatsoever.. so can you imagine how much effort it took to be able to speak any English at all? But as my greatest win, I consider my ability to find light in all bad things that happen. Like great British and American musicians that I like, writers that I read and websites that I like to follow.. just to name some. Drawing and designing stuff didn't come from itself either, even though I as a child intuitively started doing it. Had to make plenty of it, before the first person said "I like it!"

    However, thanks for the flowers. Very much appreciated!
     
  4. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    That's just horrible that you went through all that. The weird and funny thing that I will never get is how common English is in the world when it is one of the worst languages to learn. There are so many rules, and those rules are often broken because this language has stolen words from so many other languages, that it really is the "mutt" of languages, and yet it is the most common in media. I think a form of Chinese is still technically the most common language, but simply because of population, so why is English so great? I'll never know.

    I have known English all my life, and yet I am still learning it! So, I feel horrible that despite my best efforts, I just can't twist my tongue correctly to pronounce words in other languages correctly, when I'm stuck knowing one of the most complex and confusing languages in the world.

    So that's why, my friend, you are still my hero. Learning languages is not an easy task, not at all, and you have done so multiple times. I can't even fathom how you don't stumble on your words or accidentally say a word in the wrong language. I do it all the time. I think I'm saying a word in Spanish (because I know about 10 of them) and I am saying a word in Greek (out of the 20 of those that I know).

    Also, since I was a child in school, I have always struggled wuth art, never able to create what was in my head. I even spent months teaching myself how to draw in Adobe, but I still can't draw. Some people can spend a life time learning and never get it.. that's how I can say you are talented.

    Anyway, if I'm going to be politically correct, I don't know if I can truly comment on my feelings of how certain governments act against other countries, but I hope you don't feel that people from those countries always agree with what their governments do. I'm just sorry that you've had to live a life of that kind of distress. I guess it would help in writing stories... I mean I could never write about a bomb dropping on my city and know first hand what it would feel like, so it must make your writing perspectivve quite interesting.

    I look forward to reading your creative works!

    And, I must admit, I'm confused about the flowers...?
     
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  5. NotTonightJosephine
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    NotTonightJosephine New Member

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    Maybe I didn't express myself very well with that flowers phrase and I really hate to check on google for each phrase before posting it somewhere. I just meant to say thank you for your kind words. As about bombing vs. governments, of course I'm aware of many things, like that it's not even governments, let alone people... but corporations that are doing evil around the world. Which is why I can't and won't be angry at you or any particular person that has say in world politics as much as I do. Yet it sucked really when I saw the place where I used to live burning. I left the country before the war, so I saw it on TV screens in front of a shop window. I was homeless hitchhiker when that happened. And one of my book chapters is describing that event and that feeling. As about art, I dunno how and why those things develop. All I remember as nine or ten years old, is that one day I got a new teacher and she was really beautiful and I fell in love with her instantly. And so I started making drawings for her nearly every day. And she kept them all. Later on when I was becoming good at it, other kids would bug me to do their drawing stuff, during our art classes and as I didn't get any pocket money from my poor parents, I was suddenly earning good money because other kids had to pay me if they wanted me to do it for them. Not because I was greedy a**hole, but because there were so many requests. I could impossibly do them all. Which is why I insist saying, we might have passion for things, but we're not born with being good at it. We become good at it only while doing it (a lot). Thanks once again!
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Firstly, as @Morgan Stelbas comments, bloody good show on what you have achieved!

    Second, it makes life a lot easier for the reader if you put in some paragraphs - when you move from one idea to the next - when you're writing!

    Third, if you don't mind, I'll make a few comments about this post, which I hope you'll find helpful.

     
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  7. NotTonightJosephine
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    NotTonightJosephine New Member

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    Hey thanks! It seems I have to do some studying now.
     
  8. NotTonightJosephine
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    NotTonightJosephine New Member

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    A quick question for everyone: would literary agent refuse me because of my language barrier, while I could maybe carrying with me a killer story?
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's no such thing as a killer story...OK, that's a bit of an overstatement, but the number of times somebody has posted their "killer" story, only to get the reply "Oh, that's a bit like such-and-such..."

    Every story has been done before; it's all about how you execute it, and that's where you'll have a problem if you're writing in a language that you're not proficient in.

    Even if what you're planning to write is essentially the story of your appallingly harsh life, it still needs to be told well. And, sad to say, there are plenty of tales of harrowing hardship; The Killing Fields sprang straight to my mind.

    Short answer, become a good writer, then try to tell your tale.
     
  10. NotTonightJosephine
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    NotTonightJosephine New Member

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    Thanks for being so open and honest. I agree, everything has happened before and everything has been written before. The killer story is probably somewhat wrong term. Good story might be more accurate. Although my story contains elements of harrowing hardship, as you call it, it's all but depressing story. Of course it would be wrong to idealize my own story (before even it has been told) therefore becoming a good writer is essential indeed. Let the story be burned or idealized by others, after the fact.

    So let me put my question this way: would literary agent keep it in mind that English is not my native language, if he/she'd read also between the lines and recognize a good story coming? Would he/she give me a second chance and tell me to to fix some stuff and come back again, or would I simply be dismissed? I ask that because I never been in contact with any literary agent.
     
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agents and publishers are busy people. They're there to make a profit. So what they're looking for is a story that won't take a lot of work to turn it into a book that can sell. They're not likely to see a "promising" story that only needs you to "fix some stuff", and they're not likely to make allowances that English isn't your native language. If you're lucky, they'll tell you that they like how you write, and give you a few pointers as to how you can improve it to make it publishable. Most rejections are just that - rejections.

    So, you need your writing to be as near flawless as you can make it. Write something for critique on this forum, once you've met the qualifying criteria, and learn what you can from the feedback. Better, though, is the critiques you'll have to do to qualify. Read something to critique it, and try to understand what makes it work, or why it doesn't work. (You'll learn more from the thinking you'll have to do to deliver a worthwhile critique than from the feedback for a dozen of your own pieces) And what makes it work is more than correct grammar. It's the way the writer uses words (sometimes, somebody for whom English is a second language has an advantage here, because you won't know the right word to use, and you'll come up with something original) to paint a picture.
     
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  12. Robert Musil
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    Robert Musil Contributing Member

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    ...just stopping by to say that "NotTonightJosephine" is a great screen name.
     
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  13. NotTonightJosephine
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    NotTonightJosephine New Member

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    I got your point @Shadowfax. Thanks Robert!
     

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