How to know if you have writing talent when writing in a foreign language?

I’ve grown up learning English as a second language, but in a system where my first language was hardly ever taught. In fact, I’d say I know more about the rules of the English language than the rules of Arabic. It is only natural that the narrator’s voice in my thought is in English. Still, I’m not a native; so how do I know if I have the talent?
The answer can’t be good grades in writing classes. Good spelling and (somewhat) sound grammar were enough for an A. After all, the teachers were not looking for ‘it’. They were not building writers. They were building students who might eventually use English on daily basis at work, or watch an movie without subtitles every once in a while. My writing did not need inspiration since technical correctness was the criteria.
The answer can’t be reviews from my friends. I can jot down 500 words nonsense, and they’ll just admire it because very few people write in my culture. Prolificacy shocks them. Awe strikes them just by the length of my writing. If they struggled with writing assignments, then someone who writes with their own free will must be talented.
Aside from my culture, can the answer be how much I love to write? I love to write therefore I’m talented? I love to sing in the shower, but my voice would destroy lives. Another strike…
I googled my question, but in every forum it ends up in a debate about skill vs talent. I already know my skill is lacking. It’s something I’m willing to work on. But I do believe in talent, or an innate capacity towards growing. Some people are born with higher IQs, some people with characteristics that allow them to be better public speakers. Of course a person can learn to perform better on a test or use better body language in a presentation, but they might still lack ’it’.
So how do I know if I have the writing ‘it’?

Advertisements

Ops. I broke myself?

I know what broke the writer inside of me; I stopped living in my own world. Just a few months ago, I had a universe standing inside my mind. It’s a God like feeling, but it’s the farthest it can be from narcism; I was never the centre of it nor the puppeteer. I merely could see everything that was happening. On second thoughts, I was a peeping-tom; sneaking looks at my characters even at their most intimate moments. The world was rich, and changing. Everyday I had a new character, in a different setting, who was passionate about a cause which a character was just rallying against the day before. It was the soundtrack of my life. I could spend days alone just listening to it; boredom was a foreign concept to me.
Then, life happened. I’m not going to say it was bad events that distracted me. Some were good like love, some were bad like anxiety. Some writers can use these events to inspire them; but not me. I failed. Perhaps I was never a “writer”, but just an “imaginer”. The soundtrack paused, or rather it was dubbed with the sounds of my own my reality. It wasn’t bad at first. I didn’t even notice few weeks-if not months- that I hadn’t thought of any new stories. I felt guilty, but then I decided to embrace my new life. I was never a fighter; I always swam with the current regardless of my better sense. Nine months later, I had a minute to myself, but I couldn’t stand the silence in my head.
Silence.
Silence.
Silence.
No sound is louder than silence. It’s piercing. I’d become addicted to my busy life, and somehow I forgot to maintain the VCR in my mind. I spent days trying to come up with one creative thought, but I couldn’t. The VCR was rusted, out of date, and I couldn’t afford to upgrade it.
So here I am now, different. I’m not sure which was better. The old me or the new me. I never liked the old one much, and I’m not liking the new one either. I wish I could have the best parts of each, but I’m not sure it goes that way. I hope I can write again. I miss my characters.

Three awesome resources for writing your first novel and a quick update.

Write-Bravely_2560-x-1600_1920x1200

About one month ago, I posted saying that I decided to bet on myself and start writing my first novel. So far, the first draft sucks and reads a lot like cave-man language, but we all once traced letters in a swigged font before learning to write our names, huh. I’ve got to start somewhere!

Anyway, today I reached 36,500 words mark. Almost half of the first draft is done- Bazinga! I’ve to say, the eid vacation (a week) helped get some millage out of me.

Now enough about me. Here are three awesome resources for the budding writer who is slaving away at his/her first novel.

1- Scrivener

Download this program right now! I saw many people swearing by it online, and I didn’t believe them until I actually tried it. It is the best writing software out there. It is easy to get lost when writing the first novel, but it made it easy to combine everything in one place, which you can later export in all sorts of formats (including epub!).

I’ll dedicate a whole post to it soon.

You can download a trial here: https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

2- Fiction writing for dummies

 

I’ll admit: I didn’t expect much out of this book, after taking a look at the Japanese for dummies one. Yet, as it turns out, it is actually very well organized and includes guides you from plotting to finding a publisher.

What it doesn’t tell you about though is proof reading and such. It is not a grammar book.

I also recommend you take a look at blog of Randy Ingermanson, one of the authors. He explains a method he calls “snowflake” for designing a novel. http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/

3- Terrible minds blog by Chuck Wendig

This blog is my motivation bible! It was got my started. One of the posts, ‘25 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WRITING A NOVEL’, is the reason I’m so determined to finish my first novel. The first commandment was “FINISH THE SHIT THAT YOU STARTED”.  That’s what I call tough love!

It has great tips and information, so check it out:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/

 

 

Deciding which story to write

 

Over the past few days, I’ve been visiting the novel graveyard (Aka my documents) trying to decide if any of the stories I started and buried had any potential.

They were all first or second chapters, so it was hard to tell where any of them was going, so I decided to go with my heart and choose to continue “Teacup Rebel”. I had started writing “Teacup Rebel” a few years back (3 years I think). I sent the first chapter to one of my closest friends, and asked her for her opinion. She replied with the below (keep in mind that she is not a native English speaker):

This is DEFINITELY WORTH CONTINUING!!

You have an amazing imagination you remind me of Harry Potter.

I cant wait till i know whats in your head.

It is such a sad story be aware it might turn into a scary/sad story you do not want this to happen or you will just sound crazy and a perv.

You have to explain character more, what is the Myth, how do they look like, why people think of them as completely ordinary and are not mortified by how they look (The first thought that came to my mind) you want to show how chibis are ordinary but you need to mention their origins, their look, what they are capable of and what they are not,and most importantly how small are they??

On a seperate note, you choose the same words so many time (sadist) maybe also a bit predictable sometimes, like leaving things might get them stolen, or she will convince her friend and she odes convince her im not telling you to be talkative but still less predictable more imagination when it even comes to regular conversation as not to be boring.

The idea is excellent, beyond the word excellent but is your goal is it to show how small people can change the word, or how small insignificant people are mistreated but they can still rise above? we need to reach a goal in the end,

Finally, you are my PRIDE AND JOY.

Thanks a lot babe,

and plz keep sharing and if u dndt like my review i will not tell you my opinion just share bas 😀

I didn’t continue the story then. She used to ask me a lot about it,  tell me how much she believed in me, and how shameful it would be if I wasted my “talent”. I brushed her words it off. I thought because she was my friend, it was an unspoken rule she’d encourage me even if I sucked. She died about a year later in a car accident, and I started to realize how she was one of the rare people who ever believed in me. So, I think I should continue “Teacup rebel”  and dedicated to her memory (even though she did not like that title).

Sorry for being a cliché and over-sentimental. I know that being a cliché is close to an abomination in writing.

Anyway, the story is set in a world where countries have been disbanded. It is a world without belonging, without religion, and without culture. The council rules, and the council members are the ultimate ambassadors of democracy and peace, except for Chibis. Those Chibis look like humans and speak likes ones, but they could fit in the palm of your hand, like moving Barbies. That’s what they are: things, entertainment, and the all around pets. They have no rights or will of their own. Tatsuo, the hero is the story, has lived all his life in a cage, and he is sick of it.  On the other hand, Nouri, the heroine and a blogger with 5 million subscribers under her belt, wishes for her own cage. Cages keep you safe, and she likes ‘safe’ and ‘comfortable’. The story unfolds after she buys Tatsuo and dresses him in purple pants and a fish net.

Obviously, it’s a fantasy, which is not my forte, but if I’m getting my knees wet, I’m might as well take a dip. So far, I have 3 chapters done, and I’ve started the 4th today.

 

The image is from http://cherishedtrinkets.co.uk