ad00absurdum: (i write)
Ad Absurdum ([personal profile] ad00absurdum) wrote2010-08-10 10:10 pm
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Whingeing about writing

Inspired partly by this post about language and writing at [livejournal.com profile] metafandom, but I've been thinking about it for some time too.

Why the Hell is it that as far as fan fiction is concerned, I write better in English than in my own language? Well, better is a relative term since my fics might be equally rubbish in both languages. What I mean, rather, is that writing in English is just easier and it's become even more apparent now that I actually have to write something longer in Polish. I'd say it's unfair except at this point it's more like bloody tiring. I keep thinking up English words and then have to actually check in a dictionary how to write them in Polish *mother tongue fail*. Also, yesterday I realised that a phrase I considered to be prefectly all right is actually lifted directly from English. So no, it doesn't appear to be working as good in Polish. Rephrasing's gonna be dull dull dull.

So, I thought about it and formed two tentative hypotheses.

One: the problem is probably largely caused by the fact that the fandom I'm currently writing for is American. It's more natural to think of the conversations between characters in their own language, right? But, dammit, the narrative parts suffer too. Apart from the fact that descriptions, for me, are generally a pain to write, now I have to think twice as hard to write something that would be readable and didn't immediately make me wince at how awkward it sounds. Maybe it's because English has more words for some things that sooner or later will pop up like the evil things they are - since the fandom is, as I mentioned, American - and I'll be forced to render them somehow into Polish. Or maybe because in Polish repetition is a serious no-no. Either way, it's not all roses.

Also, I noticed myself grumbling that there isn't Past Perfect in Polish. It's a fact: English tenses make you lazy.

The second hypothesis goes something like this: maybe I don't know how to write in Polish because I've stopped reading in Polish. Nowadays practically all the fiction I read is in English. The situation looks slightly better on the non-fiction front, but then again, that's just not as helpful in improving one's writing as an actual narrative story. And to complain some more (although it doesn't really have anything to do with the actual subject matter) what fiction I've read in Polish in the last few months was either badly translated or badly written. And that was professional writing to boot, which doesn't make me eager to try it again anytime soon. And the circle closes.

I wonder if the situation is common for all the writers - or maybe just some - with English as a second language, who write for British/American fandoms. Who knows, maybe there's a whole new generation of authors who, when they decide to publish professionally, won't actually be writing in their first language.