Wednesday, 6 April 2016

E is for English

I write my Fantasy stories in English, and I write this blog in English. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing strange, right?
Except that I'm Swedish. English is my second language. I don't speak it half as well as I write it, and probably not one tenth as good as I read it.

So why write in English? People often ask that, and so far I've used one of two answers, depending on who's asking and the context of the question.

One: It's easier to reach out to people all over the world if you do it in English. There's many more who understand English than understand Swedish, especially on social networks where I tend to connect with other writers. So that's the main reason why this blog is in English - many of my online friends wouldn't understand it otherwise.

Two: Why I write my stories / novels in English is a bit more tricky to answer. After all, I can spell and do grammar much better in Swedish and even if the market is smaller that's no reason to try to get published internationally, especially considering the editing process will be much harder in a second language. First time I got the question I had no idea why I rather write in English. Now, I think I maybe have an answer.

I came late into reading 'fantasy'. Of course, I've read The Wizard of Oz, Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and such, but I wasn't aware of the genre as such until some 20 years ago. That was when I found authors like David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts. I started reading these series of books in Swedish, and then realized the end was several books away, but they were not translated yet. The decision between waiting for a Swedish version and finding the English original was not hard, and since then I've read the originals when I can.

I believe that formed my way of 'thinking' fantasy. In my mind, fantasy is in English (even though I've read amazingly Swedish original fantasy by now). That's probably why it feels more right to me to write fantasy in Engish than doing so in Swedish.

The strange thing? When I realized this was the (most likely) reason, it suddenly became easier to write in Swedish. Now I write in both, using different languages for different stories, sometimes mixing and experimenting with scenes and point of views to see what works best.

Writing is truly a wandering journey…


  1. Interesting post, especially for me since I'm a "second language writer" too.
    I like your reasons to write in English even more, because I wrote a post about good reasons (versus trying to get famous quick) in making that difficult choice.
    I hope you're going to succeed with your stories and soon you can share them with everyone. :)

    1. Thanks! It's both confusing and obvious why I write in English, when I start thinking about it. I need to look up that post of yours ... tomorrow or so. I need sleep now.

  2. I bet those who speak Swedish enjoy finding books that are in that language, even though they can read English as well. If anything, it could be a unique niche.

    Farin from The Newest Vazquez

  3. I'm not sure what you're referring to? There's a wide variety of books in Swedish - and the fantasy genre keeps getting bigger - so it's by no means a unique niche.