Monday, October 17, 2011

Where there's a will, there's a way... success. The reason I'm writing this is because today was a very positive day. You should have seen me smiling, it almost hurt. I've sent 1500 words of my current work in progress to the friend, who's helping me with No Wings Attached and its remaining awkward sentences, to see if my syntax, phrasing and other grammar has improved. The results were mind blowing. At least for me. It was an excerpt of the very first unedited draft and although he highlighted silly typos, too, there were actually only four things that needed addressing. In one case, I just couldn't remember the exact word, but that's a minor thing. It means my writing has improved significantly and I'm proud to shout it from the roof tops.

Thinking back to where it started: April 2009, when I decided I wanted to write a compelling novel that people can't put down, when I took on the challenge to write in second language and went through with it. Though it was hard because I had to use my dictionay a lot, it was fun and a massive achievement. Writing a complete book of 120k words is massive already, let alone in second language.
Then I uploaded it on authonomy. Most people were lovely and full of admiration for me. But a few made comments like: Why don't you write it in German and submit to German publishers? I'm sure they'd love a book like that. Translation: your English sucks, so give up! People told me the book read like a badly translated manual and I was fuming. Mainly because I was upfront with writing in second language and I knew it needed proper editing. I wanted comments on the story. Besides: foreigners read the book and could follow the story perfectly fine. So it's not that I wrote something like 'he stood metal on the bread' or something like that. Some sentences didn't make much sense, but the plot was understandable. I had a few English natives who read the whole thing (first uploaded draft) and understood it just fine and liked it a lot.
I was angry and disappointed, because those who said I should write in German and let it translate by a professional, didn't believe in me, in my abilities to learn and improve. How dare you! I thought. But it didn't put me off. Oh no...I was determined to learn.
And so I did. I'm still looking at the 1500 words I got back today and smile. The best thing, though: I'm now able to write to an almost English native standard and am able to translate my books to German, which is a huge plus if you ask me.

I still got a long way to go to get to a point where I'm eventually satisfied with my skills, but thinking how far I've got, I'm sure, I'll get there in the end.

Just to be clear here: my being German is not an excuse for sloppy editing/proofing. I chose to write in English, so I will provide a perfect ms. I wouldn't want to read an error-riddled book, neither in English, nor in German.

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