I'm working on my first book. I'm not that great in English and sometimes while writing, I feel that I'm not able to give my 100% in dialogues and overall writing style, overall( like adding more depth in scenes and able to express the emotions of characters) because I don't have a good vocabulary. I showed some part of my work to someone who's very good in English. Due to my writing, the sentences either become a mess or hilarious ( but they are not).

Any help from you will be greatly appreciated 🙏

  • 2
    Is there a reason you want to write in English rather than in your native language and have your book translated when you're done? (Serious question, I can think of a few reasons.)
    – Llewellyn
    Jul 26 '20 at 18:14
  • Hey! Actually, I'm short of money, so for getting my book (~80k words) translated will cost me a lot. So I thought of writing it in English, directly.
    – Ishan2077
    Jul 26 '20 at 18:22

Out of the two, I think vocabulary is easier to tackle. I used Vocabulary.com to actively learn new words and their meaning. Although, the site itself is good. I would recommend to either write down the words and their short meaning in a notebook or an excel table. The words you write should either be the words you found useful, or words that you might have heard before, but not used them or didn't know their precise meaning. Now the reason why I recommend Excel table is for it's sorting function. Having an alphabetically sorted list is a much nicer and easier to navigate way than it's alternative, simple notebook. There is also a possibility to search for the keywords, which I found amazing.

The other thing you should do is to simply read more. The thing I would recommend is to have an audiobook playing while reading the book. My reasoning behind this is that when I'm faced with a difficult word I might just skim over it. Taking its meaning from the concept of the sentence. However, if I hear the word as well as read it. The word itself sticks in my mind easier. Meaning I might use it more often, therefore extending my vocabulary by it.

Regarding the style, I think you can only read and write more. I remember reading the first Jack Reacher book by Lee Child. I loved its short sentences shadowed by, what seemed to me as, calculated force. The writing fit the main character who's an ex-military cop, a gentle giant ready to burst in action. In my opinion, the style you use will mimic the authors you read, and that's not the bad thing. I also think it's hard to blunder the style. If your characters are believable and story sound you won't have to worry about your style.

In the end, I would recommend a couple of books, which helped me write clearer and be more confident when writing.

  • Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

The first book focuses on the process of writing, storytelling techniques and writing for yourself as well as the reader.

The second book is the collection of rules to follow when styling the text. How to format dialogues, use active voice and basic punctuation.


If you want to improve your prose style for writing fiction, then you need to become familiar with some principles for writing in that style. I recommend visiting writersdigest.com and reading articles there. I also recommend reading books on fictional prose style. Also, as the best authors have said, giving critique and getting feedback will help you see the things you can make better in your work.

Practice and perseverance are needed to succeed. Gaining good command of English as well. Revision till perfection is vital.

Reading a lot is also important. There's many other things I could recommend based on what I read, but I will just give you this advice for now.

  • Different types of writing need different skills. When answering a question from someone who describes themselves as "not that great in English" (or any question, really), you want clarity. This isn't your novel / story / poem. Simplify, please. May 21 at 19:33
  • 1
    Okay, I tried to fix my answer.
    – garbus
    May 22 at 0:07
  • I don't even know how to write fiction but I think I hear this advice all over the place.
    – garbus
    May 22 at 0:09
  • Sorry, I guess I just assumed you were a fiction writer! May 22 at 7:08
  • Well I did write try writing fiction in the past and I want to try it again. I was just preoccupied with prose rhythm for a long time because I really wanted to emulate the sound of the KJV Bible. I already wrote a short story the other day but then I deleted it because I didn't like what I wrote.
    – garbus
    May 22 at 12:55

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