Writing a Novel in English

Published on Oct 30, 2020

France is entering its second lock-down tomorrow, for an entire month. Coincidentally, National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner as well, which got me thinking whether I should consider or not writing a novel—maybe not this month, but in a near future.

I'd not feel comfortable writing a novel in English, that's for sure. English is a tool of precision allowing me to share my knowledge in a straightforward, yet elegant fashion. Its minimalism is its strength: I neither have the vocabulary nor the finesse to write fiction in this language.

A good novel has its own musicality, and a good author cultivates her attention to details. By details, I don't imply using complicated words to appear more clever than I am. I mean knowing your language so well you can effortlessly describe scenes, characters, and emotions: a form of linguistic mastery that reveals the true essence of the story.

French being my mother tongue, I'd be more confident delivering words ringing truer. It's an old language with many nuances and local dialects I'm more familiar with, writing in English would limit the world my characters live in. I wish I was Samuel Beckett, but I'm not. I don't have the strength, nor the patience: authoring is already an arduous task, no need to make it harder.