Non-native English speakers from abroad writing/publishing in English ?

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jessiewinterspring

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Same situation here, only I'm from Croatia.
Honestly, one of the biggest reasons I'm writing in English (aside from the obviously bigger market [there are only 4 million people in Croatia in total]), is that the stuff I write just sounds... silly in Croatian. I'm not sure if it's the same with other European languages, but English does seem to be a much better fit for fantasy. I remember when GoT was on TV here and the translated dialogue with faux old timey words was just laughable. One reason I think, is that compound words are easy and sound great in English. For example, lots and and I do mean loooots of "cool" fantasy names are just noun+noun or some other variation, like again with GoT, all the cities (Winter-fell, River-run, High-garden, etc.). In Croatian these translations are either laughable or clumsy.
You just made me imagine Harry Potter translated into Filipino, my mother-tongue, and I burst out laughing.
If I ever see it, I die from cringe :roll:
 
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Jazz Club

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I'm currently querying my Time-travel romance novel and to be completely honest, I feel a lot of disadvantages against me. I wish I were in the US or UK or Australia, anywhere where they speak English, so that I'll train my English some more because at the moment I feel hard writing stories in any language I know like I'm stuck in the middle :Shrug:
Yeah I know what you mean. I guess you could try to find a native English-speaker beta reader when you look for beta swaps. They could help you polish up any little mistakes.
You just made me imagine Harry Potter translated into Filipino, my mother-tongue, and I burst out laughing.
If I ever see it, I die from cringe :roll:
Reading through this thread, I'm quite surprised that some people find fantasy words 'cringey' in other languages. I don't think that there's any reason they should be. I bet it's just because people are more used to hearing them in English. They can be pretty cringey in English sometimes too, but we just get used to hearing Ian McKellen etc talk about Rivendell and elves and hobbits and think it's normal 🤣
 

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Good luck! It's a hard road because you'll be shouldering everything a writer and publisher do, but I know a lot of self-published writers (some are my favs) who gained a good fanbase without the backing of any publisher. I also self-publish my short stories because they're not that famous for publishers haha
*I don't know why I wrote that my mother language is English, my mind must've been far away when I wrote that haha But no, my mother language is Portuguese.

It definitely seems like a laborious road. But also quite satisfying (if things work out, that is xD)! I've read a few self-published authors as well (want to meet more of them), and two of them have quickly joined my list of favourites - S.D. Simper and Zack Argyle. It does seem like we're in a great age for self-publishing - which surely makes the competition fierce, but what would be the fun otherwise?! :D
 

dickson

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Hi, I live in Germany but write in English. Although it isn't my mother tongue, strangely, I feel more comfortable expressing myself in English and I also love the sound of the language.

I'm currently querying my debut novel, a genre-crossing YA adventure. Since it is written in English, I am obviously targeting agents in countries like the UK and the US, but so far (> 40 queries sent) I only got rejections. When people around me (not writers) hear that my work is written in English, they tell me I've put myself at a disadvantage. Even though I still don't regret it (love the way the story sounds in English and couldn't imagine it otherwise), I do wonder if this is a considerable hurdle to take. Especially since I'm not only not a native speaker - which might already be a turn-off for agents - but I also don't live in an English-speaking country, where I might at least have the opportunity of getting a reading or promoting my work by going to writer conferences or agent meet-ups.

So I wanted to ask: Is there anybody out there who is or used to be in this situation and might have some advice ? Or maybe even someone who successfully published their English novel as a non-native speaker from abroad ?

I'd be thrilled to get to know other English language writers on the forum for whom it isn't their mother tongue !

P.S. I'm aware there have been threads in the past that touch on the subject (and I've read them), but they are really old (2011/2012) and I'm looking for current advice/people, so I hope this new thread is alright ! :)
Let me see . . . Joseph Conrad? Vladimir Nabokov? I’m sure many authors have walked in your shoes.

Best of luck!
 

CWNitz

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Same situation here, only I'm from Croatia.
Honestly, one of the biggest reasons I'm writing in English (aside from the obviously bigger market [there are only 4 million people in Croatia in total]), is that the stuff I write just sounds... silly in Croatian. I'm not sure if it's the same with other European languages, but English does seem to be a much better fit for fantasy. I remember when GoT was on TV here and the translated dialogue with faux old timey words was just laughable. One reason I think, is that compound words are easy and sound great in English. For example, lots and and I do mean loooots of "cool" fantasy names are just noun+noun or some other variation, like again with GoT, all the cities (Winter-fell, River-run, High-garden, etc.). In Croatian these translations are either laughable or clumsy.
I write fantasy in English, because I don't read enough books in French to be a good writer in my mother tongue.

But the setting of my manuscript is France-inspired, and the characters speak French. I think England-themed fantasy is getting kind of repetitive, and there's room in the market for something a little different.

All of that to say, it would be really cool to have a fantasy series in a Croatia-inspired setting.
 

jessiewinterspring

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Yeah I know what you mean. I guess you could try to find a native English-speaker beta reader when you look for beta swaps. They could help you polish up any little mistakes.

Reading through this thread, I'm quite surprised that some people find fantasy words 'cringey' in other languages. I don't think that there's any reason they should be. I bet it's just because people are more used to hearing them in English. They can be pretty cringey in English sometimes too, but we just get used to hearing Ian McKellen etc talk about Rivendell and elves and hobbits and think it's normal 🤣
Yes, my 3 beta readers are English speakers, 1 the same as me, but it's for the story's sake haha. My two editors are also English speakers, so I take comfort in that. 😁

As for the cringey words, I agree, I guess for us who aren't born with English the words sound better than an English speakers feel haha :D
 
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Yes, my 3 beta readers are English speakers, 1 the same as me, but it's for the story's sake haha. My two editors are also English speakers, so I take comfort in that. 😁

As for the cringey words, I agree, I guess for us who aren't born with English the words sound better than an English speakers feel haha :D
It's maybe the novelty factor. To me, most other languages sound cooler than English 🤣
 
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jessiewinterspring

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It's maybe the novelty factor. To me, most other languages sound cooler than English 🤣
Most people probably feel that? haha. My husband told me that the Swedish language is way softer than Norwegian (his language) and he had told the story many times, that it's such a funny thing because he was told once when he was in Sweden that Norwegians have so nice language because they're almost singing, and I quote him saying: "She said it in a way that sounds like a song. So I'm internally screaming 'in what way am I singing'? " :LOL: Now that I understand both languages, I have to agree, Swedish is softer haha
 

jjosuminded

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Hi, I live in Germany but write in English. Although it isn't my mother tongue, strangely, I feel more comfortable expressing myself in English and I also love the sound of the language.

I'm currently querying my debut novel, a genre-crossing YA adventure. Since it is written in English, I am obviously targeting agents in countries like the UK and the US, but so far (> 40 queries sent) I only got rejections. When people around me (not writers) hear that my work is written in English, they tell me I've put myself at a disadvantage. Even though I still don't regret it (love the way the story sounds in English and couldn't imagine it otherwise), I do wonder if this is a considerable hurdle to take. Especially since I'm not only not a native speaker - which might already be a turn-off for agents - but I also don't live in an English-speaking country, where I might at least have the opportunity of getting a reading or promoting my work by going to writer conferences or agent meet-ups.

So I wanted to ask: Is there anybody out there who is or used to be in this situation and might have some advice ? Or maybe even someone who successfully published their English novel as a non-native speaker from abroad ?

I'd be thrilled to get to know other English language writers on the forum for whom it isn't their mother tongue !

P.S. I'm aware there have been threads in the past that touch on the subject (and I've read them), but they are really old (2011/2012) and I'm looking for current advice/people, so I hope this new thread is alright ! :)
Hell0! Well, I'm undergoing that very adventure! My mother language is Spanish, and I love it, but I write in English. I have given this some thought and here are the ideas I've had:

1. Do a lot of reading in English, various genres and periods, but trying to avoid skipping words/idioms I'm not familiar with, instead, googling them and taking time to assimilate them. This makes reading a lot slower for me but provides me with more vocabulary and tools.

2. Start writing frequently, and submit for critique frequently, I'm pretty sure a lot of language corrections will very soon start to come; this I'm starting to do just now, and it's part of why I'm joining writer's communities.

3. Start a blog: I believe blogging helps you get more comfortable and pushes you to improve your use of the language on a daily basis. I'm blogging on my site and sharing to Medium some of my articles, and I get a feel of how I'm doing. Also, I know a lot of people hate it and some even recommend against it, but I believe for non-native speakers Grammarly can really help (I use the free version); sometimes the suggestion won't fly and I know it and just ignore it, but often times it helps me realize small grammar vices and ambiguities that I frequently incur on.

Hope this help, from a non-native speaker to another, cheers!

J.V