Posted in Writing

Time to get serious

Now it is Thursday, September 31 2019.

It’s still morning, I have had breakfast and am now sitting on the sofa with the laptop on my knees and a cup of coffee on the side. It’s calm here, quiet, peaceful, and I intend to write something! But what?

Tomorrow, the NaNoWriMo quest begins. Am I nervous? No. Troubled? No. Excited? Yeah! A bit! Looking forward to it!

Have I decided which language to write in?
Well! It’s still a bit hard to decide that. Writing in Swedish is naturally much easier, quicker, but…

What if I suddenly want to share a snippet of my writings with you, I can’t do that if it is written in Swedish. And what I came to think of as late as yesterday, was that this Mz Eliza Elderberry might show up in the story I’m already writing. She could very well do that. The Mechanical Man did!

Then it would be a pity if I write this November’s NaNo in Swedish.

Am I clear on that? Yes, I think so. AND! After all, I’ll try my best not to focus too much on how many words I MUST write. That would stress me too much. I’ll just keep on writing, and writing, and writing – and also try my best not to bother about spelling wrong, or not finding the “right” word. All that I’ll cope with later.

BUT! Then there was Elaine. The British lady who has been living here in Sweden for quite many years, has been teaching English and French in school, and overall is a very nice person. I like her! Like talking to her!

But I realized fairly soon that we are the opposites of each other. She is very square, and I don’t mean her physical appearance. Okay, maybe a little there as well. But more in her way of thinking, her personality, not that much able to “think around the corners”. Following rules without questioning.

We became friends rather quickly, and I one day asked her if she would mind reading a bit of my novel, and tell me how my English was. Specifically, I wanted her to check out the prepositions, I know I often chose the wrong ones. Not doing anything deeply, just a brief reading through the text. I also pointed out it was just a first draft, I hadn’t edited it at all, so  the literary accomplishments she shouldn’t worry about.

It has taken her a very long time to read that piece. But that doesn’t matter. Some words I’ve gotten from her from time to time. I write very well, she says. She’s impressed since I have a large vocabulary, and she wants to read the entire story. When asking her, she said the story was floating along very well, and the characters had life, they were not dead, flat paper-dolls.

Of course, I was happy hearing that!

Then, esterday I got a mail. With some criticism. It wasn’t much, but we will see each other this afternoon, and maybe she’ll have more for me then. Don’t know, just have to wait and see.

Well! Bad criticism always takes us down, doesn’t it? So naturally I felt a bit hurt. Not much, the criticism wasn’t that bad! But still! It was this tiny pinch in my stomach. But what can I say? I asked for it! I wanted to know what I do wrong, so I can learn and do better!

First of all, she told me I should choose to write either in British OR American English! Of course! I know that! Have known all the time. But I have told her – THIS IS JUST A DRAFT.
Just fairly recently I said to myself I wanted it to be written in British English since through my school-years and studies later on it were always British English. But also – I like it, I like the sound of it!

But she has a point there, which I will adapt to. She wrote: “You seem to be more used to American English.” I didn’t have to think much before I gave her her thumb up for this. I AM more used to American English. Through all the books I read and have read. To all movies and TV-series I watch and have watched. The blogging…

She has also her points about the grammar, and how to properly build sentences. I sometimes put adverbs in the wrong place, for example.

All those matters I have to study more, and perhaps, she will give me more examples from my text.

She didn’t mention anything about the prepositions, though. Does that mean I’m doing that fairly well now? After all? Or will she throw a bomb on my later with all the crap I write?

What I don’t understand at all, is what is wrong with “ain’t”.
If I used “ain’t” I should use it all the time, she claimed. Never (never, never?) use “isn’t” or “aren’t”.  Is that really true?

I thought, ain’t belongs to I. As instead of writing: I am not (be going to or doing this or that), I’ll write “I ain’t”, meaning, I refuse to. What has that to do with “aren’t” and “isn’t”??? First, second or third person? Singular – plural?

Okay! “It ain’t necessarily soooo…”

Then the issue of when I should use “as if” instead of “like” – I guess I have to find myself a good grammar lexicon…

There are all those examples where she is very strict and formal in how to use the language. I’ve noticed that earlier. She didn’t make any comment on that part of my writings now.

The example I back then showed her, was that to me wonderful use of “the wrong” word to show something. The book “Girl in Translation” by Jean Kwok, it was.

The had been playing hookey for a week, and she was so afraid her mother would have noticed. The young man at the workplace, who she was secretly interested in as well, calmed her by saying, he knew since he often had done that himself, but her mother didn’t. Then…
“Really,” she warmed to him.
And I saw the relief in her, how happy she got. The warmth was floating around her.

Elaine said: “That’s wrong. You can’t write like that.”

Oh yes! You can!
And I can. I can show, not just tell. I can USE the language. Yes, I can. (Maybe just not all the English grammar.)