1. ArcticOrchid
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    ArcticOrchid Member

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    Peculiar writing styles.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by ArcticOrchid, Dec 30, 2015.

    So english is my second language however I have lived and studied in the UK for most of my teens. I am trying my hand at writing and I am not writing in my native language for several reasons one being that writing in english does provide a larger audience online like you guys. Also it leaves the option open that if I don't get to or decide not to publish formally I could share it online. My native language is spoken by very few people and because I am writing a fantasy novel the amount of readers interested is already limited to the few guys who hang out in literally the only comic book store in the country...

    Coupled with the fact that I have specific learning difficulties (dyspraxia and dyslexic tendencies) I have always been very insecure about my writing. I am aware that punctuation and grammar could do with some maintenance, both in English and unfortunately my native language as well. I am working on that and if any of you have some resources I would greatly appreciate that.

    However as I read over what I have already written it has become apparent to me that my writing style is a bit odd... I think in some way that although I am writing in English I am still using the sentence structure of my native language. Also I think I go a little overboard with the vocabulary. In tests my English vocabulary has been measured in the 95%, that's not to brag it is actually one of the signs of my disability. So I have a large vocabulary but lack the grammar skills to do anything with it haha!

    Although I am open to constructive criticism, crave it in fact, I don't know whether I would want or should change the whole style in which I write unless it is actually horribly incorrect. Im not trying to be pretentious this is just how the language seems to come naturally to me.

    this is a small excerpt from my story. My character is on the run and faced with starvation and has to confront her religious convictions in order to survive.

    " What do I do when I run out of food, there isn’t much to gather at this time of the year. I can’t steal, I just can’t. Such an act is unthinkable. Despite me fighting against god’s will to claim my life I cant seemed to shake off the ingrained need to obey his rules. Is there any other reason than the threat of eternal damnation that I refrain from stealing when faced with starvation. What would be the real harm if I take some bread from a family who has more than enough for themselves? The temple would say that god had not given me that bread, had not blessed my family with fertile land or laid my path to plenty. But now I am going against his will regardless, I am already a sinner what harm will another sin cause? Despite my attempts to justify all this to myself I cannot shake the feeling that it is just wrong to steal, morality is never vague, an action is either good or bad "
     
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  2. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    It wasn't until the excerpt that I would've speculated that English is not your first language. I, myself, have English as my mother tongue, and am in frequent contact with a variety of ESL speakers in real life. Strictly speaking, the problem doesn't seem to be grammar in your writing (aside from the past tense of 'seemed,' here, which should be 'seem'), but more so the punctuation. You are doing very well, I think, and should continue writing knowing that you can clarify punctuation rules without too much strain.

    For example,

    What do I do when I run out of food, there isn’t much to gather at this time of the year.

    Could be changed to:

    What do I do when I run out of food? There isn't much to gather at this time of year. OR
    What do I do when I run out of food, when there isn't much to gather at this time of year?

    Specifically, from the rest, learn about comma splices and comma use for dependent clauses.
     
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  3. ArcticOrchid
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    ArcticOrchid Member

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    Honestly I think my punctuation is bad in my native language as well. Are there any resources to teach myself these rules? The grammar in my native language is insanely complicated and I want to improve that too, but for English punctuation are there any good resources that I could use to teach myself these things? Because I genuinely don't know the rules I just write what sounds right to me. I moved around a lot including internationally which means that my formal education in this is really patchy I just figured these things out myself.

    Any good books or websites that explain the comma splices ect?
     
  4. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    As far as I know, any writing manual will cover these basics. Often there are used ones at thrift stores for a good price. There's no real need for any advanced resources that are used by linguists, etc. I'm confident that something suitable should turn up on Google, but the .edu sites are likely to be the most trustworthy.
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with @Brianlff - the writing itself seems solid to me, but I was distracted by the punctuation. I'd also suggest smaller paragraphs, and possibly some actions mixed in with the thoughts to slow things down a little.

    As it was, I felt almost claustrophobic, as if I was being surrounded by some panicky thoughts I didn't really understand. If that's the effect you were going for, good work, but I wouldn't want to read much more that made me feel like that.
     
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  6. ArcticOrchid
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    ArcticOrchid Member

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    With the sentence lengths I've heard that before, my mum always proof read my university work and that is a comment I got again and again. It's a bad habit that I am finding really hard to break. Also if you would read a bigger excerpt I suspect you would see more instances where I get the tenses wrong, I suspect that it might be partly down to my SLDs (specific learning difficulty) cause I have always struggled with that in every language but I need to find some way of dealing with it.

    With the second comment the character is at a point where she is running away from home. She just witnessed her older disabled sister being murdered by her twin brother who claims she is the murderer. So yeah the character is in a very panicked state of mind while also having to question her very deep even fanatic religious convictions.

    So I am conflicted about whether I am happy that you felt panicked when reading it because the character is very panicked at the moment. When you mention it and I look over what I have written (13 000 words) I think there are way to many thoughts and internal dialogue. Maybe I am getting too caught up in her religious and moral dilemmas rather than actual actions. Which is why the character who is meant to be going on this epic journey has barely left her backyard.

    I have thought of a new character that should both add some interesting dimension on her religious journey while at the same time break up that period where she is travelling alone with only her thoughts as company. But you have given me something to think about and I might go back and do some editing.
     
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  7. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Your English is fine. Outside of the few things already noted by others, don't sweat it. :)
     
  8. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see nothing wrong with your style or approach to the ideas you convey. You're right in that your grammar and punctuation need work. If you were to clean up this paragraph, I'd accept it as good writing with a solid voice.
     

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