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Gaspar
03-11-2009, 05:51 PM
Greetings to everyone on this board. I am a newbie, so please don't be too harsh if this is the wrong place for my request.

I am an experienced author in my first language; I've been writing weekly contributions for a major English-language newspaper for over four years. But ever since I was a schoolboy with a passion for inventing silly sci-fi stories, I never even thought of writing fiction. I am quite familiar with the literati scene in my home country; the very idea seemed preposterous to me.

But the bug that's been dormant for twenty years is rising its (possibly ugly) head again. And when I felt it, I had another preposterous idea: why not write a novel in English? Conrad could, Nabokov could; why shouldn't I try?

I am naturally wary of what comes out. I cannot judge to what extent my style sounds natural or unnatural. There are certain facts that I need to run by a native speaker. All in all, I need a friend, a colleague, someone whom the structuralists used to call 'a magic helper' when they discussed fairy tales.

Properly, this should have been a job offer. I would be more than willing to consider this option should my efforts bear any fruit at all. For the time being, though, I am prepared to be a magic helper for my helper in whatever fields I could be of use: fact-checking, translation into/from my native language, language tutoring, just a friendly ear.

I'm writing a novel that could be loosely classified as technothriller; something along the lines of the late Michael Crichton, with perhaps more of a human touch. There is a lot of popular science in it, from linguistics to molecular biology; it's set mostly in Europe; the plot develops slowly to become fast-paced by the second half of the book. Please let me know if you're interested. Please tell me about yourself. Let's see if we can make it work.

Once again: I am looking for a highly literate and intelligent native speaker of English (preferably American English, but it's a preference, not a requirement) to help me with brushing up my grammar and maybe some general streamlining as well. I'm sure I'll think of ways to do something in return.

All the best,
Gaspar

swpauthor
03-11-2009, 06:05 PM
It sounds to me as if you are already using English. :Shrug: Did you submit (and type) this thread on your own, or did someone transcribe it for you from your "native" language as you dictated? I'm guessing this is the case. So if you did have someone else write this thread and you're not sure how to proceed because of grammatical hindrances, etc, then I catch your drift. If you wrote it yourself, and are still worried that your grammar, vocabulary and punctuation might be flawed, then you have nothing to worry about. The thread was well-written and very succinct. My advice is, "Just get on with it! You'll do fine!" None of the rest of us "native" English users/speakers knows grammar either. (At least it's not my strong point...) Get a few books on writing mechanics at the bookstore, such as Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" etc. Also, that's what the forums, writer's clubs and critique circles are for! :)

Gaspar
03-11-2009, 06:08 PM
I wrote it myself, and it's not the first time I receive a reply like that. I think there's a difference between writing a semi-formal letter and a novel-type narrative. But then again, maybe I really shouldn't by worrying too much. Thank you anyway.

Charlie Horse
03-11-2009, 06:13 PM
I don't know how to advise you, but I like your name. Can I use it in one of my books?

maestrowork
03-11-2009, 06:14 PM
Just write. And think in English.

That's my advice.

And no, English is not my first language either. But I make do.

Gaspar
03-11-2009, 06:18 PM
I don't know how to advise you, but I like your name. Can I use it in one of my books?

Sure, why not.

smoothseas
03-11-2009, 06:24 PM
Just write. And think in English.

That's my advice.

And no, English is not my first language either. But I make do.


The bit about the thinking is key. And, read, in English, of course, in that genre. You'll probably struggle, at first, but if you work hard, you find that you're assimilating the skill-sets you'll need.

Good luck, Gaspar, and :welcome: to AW. Take your shoes off. Sit a spell. This forum is an active, happening place.

backslashbaby
03-11-2009, 09:41 PM
Welcome!

I would be happy to read any parts that you are concerned about. Your English is flawless (better than many of my peers at Oxford, actually!), but I understand what you mean about formal writing vs something more colloquial :) American English is my 1st language, but I speak Spanish [very formally, lol] and I'm worse at French and German.

If you want to know whether your writing sounds like an Oxford professor to a regular ole American, I know I can help you there ;)

Gaspar
03-12-2009, 06:15 AM
Hi Backslashbaby,
Did you receive my message? In case you didn't, please drop me a line at gaspar (dot) arneri (at) gmail.com. And thanks a lot for your kind offer.

Best,
Gaspar

Puck38
03-12-2009, 09:43 AM
Sir, your English seems to be far better than mine, and I've been living here my whole life. But if you're looking for the vulgar, offensive, colloquial American English of us common-folk, feel free to ask me anything.

True story, I know 39 different ways to say "penis." You'll never see a penis described so beautifully as it is in my writing. But sometimes I overexert myself, and my penis prose becomes a bit, I don't know, purple.

zornhau
03-12-2009, 01:31 PM
Greetings to everyone on this board. I am a newbie, so please don't be too harsh if this is the wrong place for my request.

I am an experienced author in my first language; I've been writing weekly contributions for a major English-language newspaper for over four years. But ever since I was a schoolboy with a passion for inventing silly sci-fi stories, I never even thought of writing fiction. I am quite familiar with the literati scene in my home country; the very idea seemed preposterous to me.

But the bug that's been dormant for twenty years is rising its (possibly ugly) head again. And when I felt it, I had another preposterous idea: why not write a novel in English? Conrad could, Nabokov could; why shouldn't I try?

I am naturally wary of what comes out. I cannot judge to what extent my style sounds natural or unnatural. There are certain facts that I need to run by a native speaker. All in all, I need a friend, a colleague, someone whom the structuralists used to call 'a magic helper' when they discussed fairy tales.

Properly, this should have been a job offer. I would be more than willing to consider this option should my efforts bear any fruit at all. For the time being, though, I am prepared to be a magic helper for my helper in whatever fields I could be of use: fact-checking, translation into/from my native language, language tutoring, just a friendly ear.

I'm writing a novel that could be loosely classified as technothriller; something along the lines of the late Michael Crichton, with perhaps more of a human touch. There is a lot of popular science in it, from linguistics to molecular biology; it's set mostly in Europe; the plot develops slowly to become fast-paced by the second half of the book. Please let me know if you're interested. Please tell me about yourself. Let's see if we can make it work.

Once again: I am looking for a highly literate and intelligent native speaker of English (preferably American English, but it's a preference, not a requirement) to help me with brushing up my grammar and maybe some general streamlining as well. I'm sure I'll think of ways to do something in return.

All the best,
Gaspar

Good genre fiction is written in a limited subset of English. Stick to that and you won't need major editing.

Putting on my other hat - I specialise in localising technical documentation - might I suggest you read widely in English in your target genre, and meanwhile just write the novel? Once you have an almost-final draft, it'll be easy to get somebody to read it for good English.

smoothseas
03-12-2009, 07:49 PM
might I suggest you read widely in English in your target genre


See, somebody else just suggested it, too. Quick idea here, some authors, on their websites, will often post a chapter or a sample, to hook you in to buying their book.

Print it out. Print several copies out. Grab you some highlighters. On one set highlight all the verbs in one color... adverbs in another.

On another copy highlight dialogue tags in yellow - the beats in blue.

On yet another, the use of the Proper name of the characters and in another color the use of personal pronouns.

After a while, a pattern starts to emerge. This kind of exercise has helped me, so I thought I'd share.

And in the meantime, just sit down and write.

Matera the Mad
03-13-2009, 04:58 AM
I would imagine that the only problem you might have would be an occasional crossed-up idiom or stilted phrase. Get a couple of good beta readers, and let it happen.

Gaspar
03-13-2009, 02:25 PM
I would imagine that the only problem you might have would be an occasional crossed-up idiom or stilted phrase. Get a couple of good beta readers, and let it happen.

Thanks.

Birol
03-13-2009, 06:20 PM
Moving to the Beta Reader forum.

oswann
03-13-2009, 08:22 PM
Are you French?

Os.

Gaspar
03-13-2009, 08:37 PM
Non.

oswann
03-13-2009, 09:29 PM
Dommage, j'aurais pu vous aider.

Os.

Gaspar
03-13-2009, 09:33 PM
Why does it matter that I'm not French? Do you only help French people? :-)

oswann
03-13-2009, 09:42 PM
No, but I'm a native English speaker in France and would have picked your brains as a form of exchange (not saying you don't have brains to pick regardless of your nationality).



Os.

Gaspar
03-13-2009, 09:48 PM
I see. I do speak some French, but it's rusty and limited.

dragonmedley
03-14-2009, 07:22 PM
You're doing fine. English isn't my first language either (it's French) and I learned English through immersion and reading. Like everyone else said, write what you have to write and then see what betas have to say.

Prawn
03-27-2009, 04:25 AM
If you are still looking for help, I would be willing to swap a chapter with you and see how it goes. I am in the US. Where are you?
Prawn