Getting Spanish writing right involves spelling, grammar, syntax… and plain old writing skills, just like in any other language. Except that writing in Spanish is the same as doing so English. Each language has its own rhythm, its own cadence. Tenses have different meanings in each language and the length of sentences, the way we tell stories, is different.
I have dozens of books on Spanish grammar at home and my goal is to write a book that is practical, readable, well researched, and understandable to those who are not looking for something highly technical but care about Spanish writing. I have run some pilot tests, and some readers of my early drafts have learned Spanish in the US, while others have learned it in countries where Spanish is the dominant language. They may have learned the language from their parents or done so in school. Some learned Spanish from early childhood, others started in their teens. Some had Spanish language class every day, all day, and others had it for one period a day. This book has been helpful to them.
Spelling, verbs, articles, and such things matter, but how Spanish is actually written is often the missing piece of the puzzle. What makes a Spanish paragraph ring? What makes a Spanish sentence sound good? Why do we sometimes slip into some other habits that seem similar to English? Are some of those habits acceptable at times? These questions matter for those of us who live in the US and write in Spanish.
Writing is a process
I started the research for this project in 2009 and the drafting in 2019. Now, I have about 100 pages written, as you can see in the picture. It shows the pages of my draft spread out on the floor so I can rearrange the content before I move on to the next step of editing. Lucía Terra, my developmental editor, has given me excellent directions to take it from here.
Some of the material has already been published in ¡Al rescate del español! ¡Al rescate del español!, a blog that Mercedes Guhl and I have been maintaining on this topic.
Writing is teamwork
Good writing is teamwork. I have an amazing support team. The acknowledgement page will be long! It involves research, review, conversations, thinking, and a great support team. It is time to finish arranging the content, do the copy editing, and prepare it for publication. In the process, the author learns the most. My Spanish writing and translations have improved enormously.