1. drewhosick
    Offline

    drewhosick New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    1

    Ideas, I Have Those. Grammar, Yikes, Not So Much!(Tense and POV)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by drewhosick, Jan 25, 2014.

    I know there are a lot of people who've posted saying they tend to switch verbe tense and POV from time to time. I'm doing it a lot too and it's driving me nuts. I guess I shouldn't have hated language courses so much growing up. What is the easiest POV and Tense to write in?

    I've been trying first person past but I find myself sometimes writing present and/or switching to third person. Is that something you worry more about when correcting your first draft? I'm concerned that if I decide to correct after 1st draft, I might create more work than I can handle.
     
  2. Billaferd
    Offline

    Billaferd Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2014
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    4
    I actually watched a video the other day from Readercon 2013. It was entitled The Nuances of POV. You can look it up on YouTube.

    The general consences is that most people have a specific POV that they feel is more natural to them. I can imagine that this holds true for tenses as well.

    I would suggest taking a single short story and re-writing it in different POV's and tenses to see if one feels more natural then others.
     
  3. drewhosick
    Offline

    drewhosick New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'll try that. Sounds like a plan. I really like first person for POV. My first First Person POV book was The Hunger Games and because it was present tense as well I found it quite difficult to read at the beginning but it kind of grows on you.
     
  4. drewhosick
    Offline

    drewhosick New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    1
    I want to thank you for the suggestion Billaferd. I tried this idea and I found that although it's a little more alien to me, writing in first person, present tense seems like an easier task. The correct verb usage and tense not only comes out better but I am expanding on the short 3 paragraph test I wrote with more descriptive text. I'd better go back and edit my first 12 pages before I move forward with my story.
     
  5. Patra Felino
    Offline

    Patra Felino Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    126
    Location:
    Colombia
    I feel I should issue a word of warning at this point. From my limited experience with the world of writing, 1st person present is an unusual style that rarely makes for optimal storytelling (although I'm using it in my WIP, funnily enough). 1st person seems to be overused by amateurs and swiftly rejected by publishers.

    It's virtually impossible to give good advice without seeing a sample of your work (and you haven't yet met the criteria for posting in the workshop), but if there's such a thing as a rule of thumb in this area, it seems to be to use 3rd person past unless you have a good reason not to, which of course you may.
     
  6. Liam Johnson
    Offline

    Liam Johnson Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Warrington, England
    First is a dangerous tense to use because it, essentially, places all your eggs in one basket. I wouldn't let the idea of it being amateurish put you off-- there's some tremendous literature out there we would never have got if everyone felt that way-- but be wary of your tone if you use it. The one true advantage first has over third is an immediate and guttural potency in how we inhibit the MC's mind. However, if the strength of your story is in description, action or interactive drama then there's really no advantages of using it. To justify using first, I would say your character needs to have:-

    a) A unique tone to their thoughts, which flows and possesses a lyrical, rhythmic quality. This is the stream of consciousness effect which was popular in the 40s and 50s; its main strength is in the reliability of the narration and, essentially, the light and shade you can give a scene-- that's why children or adolescents are good choices for first-person, because the author can use a unique, naive and perhaps primitive tone to their thoughts, presenting adult issues in a reflective way to the reader. That's one example of the way the first is best used, IMO.

    and

    b) A dramatic reason for the reader to care about the MC's thoughts. We need conflict, within them, which must be resolved and, importantly, an understanding that things could be chaotic or tragic if they resolve badly. An obvious, very stark example would be a person considering committing suicide and undergoing a mental battle with themselves as to whether they should jump. Another might be a teenager thinking about coming out. A lot of the problems with first-person come from it losing the drama of a text by poorly defined conflict and why it matters that it comes from the first person. A lot of what might make it seem amateurish is when it's used for no goodly reason this way.

    If you don't have both of those clearly in your head, I would stick with third. If you do use first, NEVER change POV; that's another thing that will alienate readers. First is first because it's one person's story.

    I use first a lot, if you can't tell :p
     
    Macaberz likes this.

Share This Page