Posts Tagged reading

Advice for writing in English, when English is not your first language.

Quote for the day:  “A book itself threatens to kill its author repeatedly during its composition,” Michael Chabon.

Song for the day: Hot n Cold, Katy Perry.

I decided to write this post after I’ve had to google a word for the umpteenth time.  I am not completely inadequate when it comes to English; let’s just say I don’t dream in English.

It helps that I am, and always have been, a voracious reader. (Excuse me for a moment while I make sure that ‘voracious’ is the correct word here … okay, I’m back.) I read books at the rate that Donald Trump fires people, or Imelda Marcos bought shoes.

We’ve also had English as a subject at school and my tertiary education was conducted mostly in English. But let’s face it, a three-page marketing proposal written under duress, doesn’t really prepare you for having to write a 75 000 word novel in flowing prose.

And don’t be mistaken, your prose damn well better be flowing, or your dreams will be flowing out of the window.

If the mere thought of submitting your query to agents causes your stomach to drop ten stories storeys, the internet can be a great help, but can also become the great time-sucker-upper if you don’t watch it very carefully. (See how cleverly I made up a new word there? This is a great ‘save’ if you can’t think of the English word.)

The most important thing is to read, read, read.                             

Learn while you are reading, even when you are lying on the beach on some remote island with the latest bodice-ripper in your hands. Learn when you are sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, standing in a queue at the Traffic Department or waiting at the airport. Then, go and apply what you have learnt in a way that is entertaining and flowing. Not too much to ask, is it?

And finally, never forget that the above tip gives you the perfect come-back when The Husband complains yet again that you didn’t hear a word that he was saying and that he is going to ban you from buying more books:

“But Honey, I am studying!”

So please excuses I now as I goes back to works on my fiction novel.    😉 

On the beach.


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On writing …

Quote for the day: “There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are.” — Somerset Maugham.

First song I heard today: Bells of Freedom, Bon Jovi.

I have just read a fellow blogger’s account on what the turning point was for her; when she realized she wanted to be a writer.

I tried to remember when my own turning point happened. Not so easy … Some people can remember things from their past with absolute clarity. Like my sister; she can tell me about conversations we had as children that I have no recollection of. Or what we did on a specific day, where we went for holiday, teachers’ names, things like that. But not me – probably because I was living in a world created by my own imagination.

This must mean that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I was always in my own mind, making up little stories and having conversations with imaginary people. (Okay, no need to phone those straightjacket people.) This didn’t help my grades or popularity with teachers, but it kept me entertained.

However, if I had to pinpoint a specific time in space, that proverbial ton o’ bricks on the head moment, it would be the day I finished reading Terry Brooks’ Armageddon’s Children. Urban fantasy is my thing and this book personified everything I love about books, reading, fantasy and a whole lot of other things. I knew that I had to try, because if I didn’t, I’d always have that “what if?” question lurking in the back of my mind.

So that is why I sit in front of the laptop, sometimes gnawing away at its corner in a fury of frustration, sometimes on the point of flinging it through the window like a Frisbee, but always keeping my ass in the chair (thanks Anne Lamott!).

What makes the struggle worth it is that moment, when I read over what I’ve written and a little voice whispers in my ear, “Celia, this actually doesn’t suck.”

That makes me very, very happy.

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