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This is probably the most important tip. I am from the Philippines and I work at a bookstore. I often get to read books for free. As I have always been intrigued with the undiscovered gems in the Philippine literature, I always try to rummage stocks for works written by Filipinos, and a lot of them are in the English language. I once held a book. The cover looked okay; it seemed to warn me about tragedy. So i flipped the book to get a grip of what the book was about. Okay. Death. Sure, it happens. Let’s see… Secrets. It mentioned ‘secrets’ and I was okay with that. It was the most interesting one in the batch so I took it with me to my table and sat. I flipped it open and on the first page of the first chapter (it didn’t have a prologue or preface or foreword), I yawned about three times. I tried to continue though. I must be really tired from yesterday’s work or maybe 6 hours of sleep wasn’t enough. I went on and on and I couldn’t count how many yawns I had let out. I kept reading even more and I realized the reason why the yawns keep coming: the descriptions in the book is way too dramatic that the narrator didn’t seem human to me anymore. I didn’t feel like I was experiencing the book. I wasn’t experiencing what the character was going through. Rather, I way going through a bunch of words that only wanted to tell me that the night is cold and the view was nice. I am not even exaggerating. There were too many emotions that enveloped a SINGLE scene. And it was just one part of the view (peripherals not included). It was one thing in the many things that the character could have gone through and done if she didn’t spend so much time describing how her view looks like.

While I’m at it, I also noticed how Filipino authors who write in English tend to overemphasize objects. There’s too much flowery words. There’s too much emotion that even the reader gets confused about it. It was as if they were trying to impress readers with the way they write English and how they use such words with fluency other writers couldn’t do. I felt so much arrogance in their works that it felt too uncomfortable to read.

I don’t know if it’s a trend in Filipino-English literature but I hope to see less of those. Such a shame, that book won a prestigious literary prize here in the Philippines. Traditionalists approves.

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