What are your best tips for a fluent writing style?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

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    Reading flow is an important thing. However, the writing style is it, too. But how get I my one as fluent as a smoothie. I mean do you wanna read writing mistakes in every sentence as if they were in a line?

    As a non-mother tongue in English, it’s more difficult than for one who is it. So, what are your best tips?


    P.S.: I write in first (deep-) POV and in simple present.
     
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    Hey WM,

    So what is your mother tongue?

    I am not sure I would want to venture into trying to write a novel in another language, that would seem a great barrier, and I don't feel fluent enough in another language to try it. If English is not your first language, you are going to have a tough time getting a lot of it right, and a lot of it needs to be right before sentence flow becomes the front burner item.

    Do you have a sample of your writing that I could look at?
     
  3. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

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    pmmgpmmg I speak German. But I also speak a little bit Dutch. And I got in the last report card a C in English
     
  4. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    Well, the writing that you are posting up in the forums would lead me to believe English is not your first language, but forum posts are informal. I would like to see something you have written in English that is meant to be a story.

    I don't want to pick on you, but a native English writer would not likely write a sentence like this, 'And I got in the last report card a C in English', they would more likely write instead, 'I got a C in English on my last report card' (or maybe more likely, just 'I got a C in English'). These small bits, while still communicative, do show a non-native understanding of the way sentences might naturally flow from a native English speaker. That is hard to overcome. If you do wish to overcome it, and it is certainly possible, you are gonna have to put in a lot of effort at it. There is no way around that than doing a lot of writing, and a lot of interacting with native English speakers.
     
  5. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

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    pmmgpmmg This is from the 100-word-challenge:

    “You’re the worst nanny I’ve ever seen,” says Jerry. He sits on the sleigh which brings the firewood to the hotel. Jerry licks his strawberry ice cream.
    I haven’t such a relax moment like him. Where are those damn children? “Boys! That’s not funny. Please come back.”
    “Yeah! Please, please. Otherwise, I’ll be fired,” Jerry mimic me.
    But it ain’t so easy to find them. They wear everything in white.—Like a military uniform. And white like the snow which surrounds us.
    A susurration. Ha! There is the hideout.
    It’s a huge conifer.—Typical for the Swiss Alps. I look and….
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  6. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    Okay....

    I tried to rewrite this taking out the parts that seem from a non-native English speaker to me, but its not so easy to do that and not also just edit it with my own voice, which I did try to avoid.

    Here is how I would have written this:

    “You’re the worst nanny ever,” says Jerry. He sits on a sleigh that brings firewood to the hotel, and licks his strawberry ice cream.

    It's good he gets to relax. Where are those damn children anyway? “Boys! This is not funny. Please come back.”

    “Yeah! Please come back. Please or I’ll be fired,” Jerry mocks at me.

    But it ain’t so easy to find them. Everything they wear is white.—Like a military uniform. And not just any white, white like the snow which surrounds us.

    A susurration. Ha! There is the hideout.

    It’s a huge conifer—Typical for the Swiss Alps. I look and…


    Some things. Susurration is my new favorite word. I am putting that in my tool box of words, but I've never heard any one use this word at any point in my life. A Nanny is not a common US experience, so that to me makes this likely from a European perspective. Meaning that, without other clues, I would think the writer European. 'Such a relax moment' is definitely not something that would flow naturally from a native English speaker. 'Such a relaxing moment', maybe, but that would not be a turn of phrase that comes up to often. Culturally, relaxation is usually something talked about as something people never get to do, and usually that word pops up as "Relax man,' to tell someone to stop stressing about stuff.

    Writing in another language in a way to that seems native is no easy feat. I think you are going to have to immerse yourself in some of the English speaking cultures to really get the colloquialisms right.


    Why would you not write in German?

    One other thing, cause I noticed it again in rereading that, is the That/Which usage. Personally, I don't mind when people get this incorrect, but Which is supposed to follow a comma, and That continues the thought.


    Example:

    The sleigh that pulled the wood was last seen on the hill.
    The sleigh, which pulled the wood, was last seen on the hill.

    In truth, this one gets used interchangeably so often that I think English rules may someday get changed to say its proper to which or that in place of each other, but it actually isn't.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  7. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

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    pmmgpmmg A big “Thank you!” for the correction. Do you know a good site where I can improve my English?

    P.S.: I want a bigger audience and more helpers to become better.
     
  8. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    If I could offer the ideal, I would suggest a field trip, and go live in one of the English speaking countries for a while.

    Second best, I think, would be to have a native English speaker you are friends with and can actually see face to face, and see if they will help.

    I do not know first hand any great websites that can take you to the next level. I would be looking at Rosetta Stone or similar language programs my self.
     
  9. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

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    pmmgpmmg Do you have skype? (If "Yes!" send me please your name via pm.) Maybe I can learn it from you.
     
  10. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    Ah, I would love to, but I could not make such a commitment. My energy is just used up these days with work, kids and certification exams. Popping on here a few times a day is about the only break I get. And my own writing...well...I fear that may be pushed off until at least June, which is about when the next big network upgrade takes place... I fear I would leave you wanting too much if I tried.
     
  11. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

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    pmmgpmmg Uhmm...I understand. Pity! How about this: I send you a question via pm and you answer it?
     
  12. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

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    Works for me :)
     
  13. Nascent

    Nascent Acolyte

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    I do it by telling first, writing second. I tell myself the story while noting it down.
    Helps the story become more "relaxed" in my experience.
     
  14. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    IMHO, the best thing you can do is to write. The more you write in English, the more comfortable you'll get and the better you'll get at it. When I first started writing, I was very uncomfortable because my knowledge of punctuation was atrocious, but I learned. I'm still not perfect, not by a long shot, but I'm comfortable enough with it that what I put on the page flows mostly how I want it to flow.

    Finding your voice and style takes time. You can't force things. If you try, it will feel fake, regardless of mistakes or not.
     
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