1. marionluther

    marionluther New Member

    Jan 26, 2018
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    Writing in English when you're not a native speaker

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by marionluther, Jan 26, 2018.

    Hello all :)

    This is my first post here. I apologize in advance in case this thread already exists. I did research some topics that seemed relevant but couldn't spot something on English as a second language.

    I come from Greece and even though I love poetry in Greek I cannot bring myself to write prose in my native language. I do love writing prose in English though. I have tried my luck with both fanfiction stories and original content but no matter how hard I try and how much I read English literature to get accustomed with the written use of the language, my end products always seem to need editing.

    I was wondering if there is some sort of site or community here or anywhere else where you can get feedback on your writing so that you can actually spot the areas in which you need to improve. Or any type of resource that offers feedback on one's writing strengths and weaknesses.

    Thank you all for your time!
    miahaze and jannert like this.
  2. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

    Nov 5, 2015
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    Even if you write in your native language you will always end up with a product that needs editing. Or that's how it works for the rest of us, at least.

    You will be able to get critique on your writing later on if you stick to this forum. I don't have the rules in my head, but I think you need two weeks, two written critiques of your own and a few posts. Then you'd get some pointers on how you're doing and what you could do better.

    I'm usually advocating writing in your native language, but there are always exceptions around. If you feel like writing in English, do so. I don't know if it'll get harder to get published, though.

    From the rule book itself:
    • Posting in the Writing Workshop requires 2 or more constructive critiques of other members' work for each new posted work.
    • You must be registered for at least 14 days and have made 20 posts before you can create a thread in our workshops.
    Mink likes this.
  3. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

    Oct 13, 2016
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    Lisbon, Portugal
    The Workshop is not very good for correcting English, if that's what you mean. You have the Word Mechanics forum if you want help with the English language. There are many English forums for ESL speakers out there but from my own experience they're more directed at basic level learners. Not very helpful for people who are trying to write literature.
    People here are nicer. If you post something on the Workshop and point out that you're looking for the areas in your English that need improvement, people will tell you. :)
  4. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

    Jan 16, 2018
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    If you feel that your writing needs editing, then can you try to pinpoint what exactly feels weak? Is it just a general "this feels boring"? Or, is it "I can't write fight scenes!" sort of thing? Or, "that's definitely not how Kazantzakis would have written it!" ? Are you comparing your work to your favorite writers? What is it that you don't like about your writing?? Have you let somebody else read your work? Friends? Mom? :D Any outside feedback can help (a little).
  5. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Contributor

    Oct 18, 2012
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    As others have said, there will always be need of editing regardless of what language you write in. If you want to write in English, just do so!
    When you meet the Workshop requirements (see @Lemie's post above) you can post excerpts of your writing in our Workshop. Preface your posts with "I'm not a native English speaker, so I would love it if you could give some critique on my English" or something similar to let the members know what you're looking for. Note, however, that it is up to each critic to decide what they want to give critique on (language, story, setting, pace, etc.).
  6. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    There are many people on this forum for whom English is not their first language, including at least two of the Mods! (I am somebody who can only speak English, unfortunately.)

    I would say, judging from your post @marionluther , you have nothing to worry about. Your post is nearly perfect, and only one small error (that I noticed) might give you away as a non-native speaker. (You become accustomed TO something, not accustomed WITH something.)

    I agree with the others, who suggested that you put some of your writing in the workshop, once you've fulfilled the requirements. Make sure you include a note, saying you are a non-native speaker and would appreciate feedback on your use of English (as well as any other remarks or comments the critique-giver might want to make.)

    Sometimes we get focused on critiquing the story, character development, etc, and don't mention any English usage issues in our feedback. If you want specific feedback on your English usage, make sure you ask for it.

    If you are writing in English, where are you setting your stories? Someplace you've been? Someplace you've just imagined?
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
    Komposten likes this.
  7. Reollun

    Reollun Active Member

    Jul 21, 2017
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    Central Europe
    Writing prose is hard in any language, especially if it's a second language. As a non-native English speaker, I find that it takes much more effort to write in a non-native language since I have to pay special attention to grammar, style, and colloquialisms, and there's always the thought that no matter how well I know the language, it's not going to be good enough.

    When I switched to writing in my native language (after a really long time) I was very surprised to discover that my writing wasn't any better for it, and I still struggled with the same things I always struggle when writing in English.

    The best way to improve your writing skills is to read as much as English literature as possible. That's one advice I would give to anyone.
    John-Wayne likes this.

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