1. Polyphonic-Canary
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    Polyphonic-Canary Member

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    Past and Present Tense FP books?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Polyphonic-Canary, Jul 1, 2009.

    Just finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife, which I thoroughly enjoyed; gobbled it up in two readings. Looking forward to the film coming out next month. Anyway, the plot got me thinking about past and present used in first-person narration, and I wondered whether there were any authors out there using both tenses. I'm hoping to use a similar technique in my own work, but can't quite get my head around switching from each...

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I would think that any first person author would use both past and present tense in the narrative. In a first person story, the narrator is also a character who has thoughts of his/her own. Most of the narrative could be past tense, but when it comes times to tell what the narrator is thinking, it would switch over to present. After all, you don't think in past tense, do you? Why should a fictional character be any different?

    I know that wasn't exactly what you were asking for, but there you go. :rolleyes:
     
  3. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, from what I can remember, she writes in first person, present tense throughout the story. It's the timeline of the story that moves around, right? So past, present, future; but the narrator's tense stays in the present.

    The only book I can think of that sort of does this is the Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. It goes between the past and the present, but it also varies between 1st & 3rd person narrative.
     
  4. Polyphonic-Canary
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    Polyphonic-Canary Member

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    FMK: Interesting point. Erm, I definitely need to re-word this question. I was basically trying to ask two different questions at once, but it doesn’t seem to have turned very well. One of them should really go under a completely different section, heh. In regards to recommendations, I was looking for something FP obviously, with multiple narrators speaking in different tenses. Know any titles?

    marina: Yeah, the past, present, future thing kind of spurred on a few questions about something I’m working on at the moment. I’ve recently made a drastic change to the structure and dumped diary entries and third-person for just a general FP narrative. Guess what I’m looking for is an alternate method of weaving in past with present effectively.

    Thanks for the suggestions; I’ll check out the Notebook. :)
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    All of Bret Easton Ellis' novels are first person present, Less Than Zero is the only one I distinctly remember having any past tense with it (in a few flashback passages).
     

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