1. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Present and past tense

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Stammis, Oct 23, 2015.

    I know that these sentences mixes present and past tense. I just want to confirm that this dos not work, because it sounds alright in my head.

    "Suddenly, he feels fatigued and he knew what it meant."

    or

    "As fear overcomes him, he feels a burst of energy surge through his body. Suddenly, an immense force pressed him against the ground."
     
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Past:

    "Suddenly, he felt fatigued, and he knew what it meant."

    "As fear overcame him, he felt a burst of energy surge through his body. Suddenly, an immense force pressed him against the ground."

    Present:

    "Suddenly, he feels fatigued, and he knows what it means."

    "As fear overcomes him, he feels a burst of energy surge through his body. Suddenly, an immense force presses him against the ground."

    EDIT: by way of the explanation I didn't provide, the above work, but mixing tenses doesn't.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think either work very well. They're both betterms if you stick to the same tense, imo.
     
  4. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Gotcha
     
  5. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    If you are doing high fantasy, please try and stick with past tense as it is indicative of the market and the development of fiction. Also, are you doing third person omniscient because that is really tough to do well...
     
  6. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Well, present tense is kind of a new thing, so maybe that is the way fiction is developing towards? Anyway, I never decided to write in present tense, it just felt more natural that way. Also I am 50 000 characters in the story, so that would be a pain to change at the current stage.

    Furthermore, I am writing third person omniscient but I rarely change the perspective. I would say 80% is of the protagonist point of view.
     
  7. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Seems I hit the nail on the head.

    50,000 characters is like 10,000 words - but finish the work and fix it in revisions. Also, if you are mainly staying in a single MCs head, you want to just do Third Person Limited.
     
  8. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Sorry, I mean of course 50 000 words
     
  9. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    If you are that far along and it is your preference, then keep going. Seeing as how most writers never get that far in the first place, if you like the present tense, stick with it. Also, many writers say 3rd/Omni when they are really writing 3rd/Limited. Knowing the difference is key, because 3rd/Omni requires jumping about in all the character's heads all the time and there are no secrets in 3rd/Omni.

    I experience my dreams in 3rd/Omni - so writing in 3rd/Omni is easy for me, but it is not better than 3rd/Limited. 3rd/Omni is also very tough to get into.
     
  10. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yup, 3rd omniscient risks head hopping and confusion for readers. As far as I am aware the trend of late (as in for a long time) seems to be 3rd limited, and if 3rd/omni is used it tends to switch in each paragraph.

    I think you should put a couple of thousand words up for review and get some feedback.

    And by all accounts, editing is as time consuming as writing, so expect to have to edit and rewrite whole sections.
     
  11. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Yes,
    Yes, I usually edit what I have written the next day at least once before I continue the story. I must have edited major parts of the first chapter five time by now.
     
  12. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Good! Always try to wait 24-48 hours (or at least sleep on it) before editing. Just make sure to read aloud, or even better, print out a hard copy to maximize your editing time effectiveness. If you are discovery writer, editing before you finish may end up causing motivational problems or result in burning out.
     
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  13. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Christ... are you a physic or what? I am indeed a discovery writer. More often than not, after writing the first draft of a chapter, it turns out completely different the next day. Thx for the advice!
     
  14. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Christ... are you a physic or what? I am indeed a discovery writer. More often than not, after writing the first draft of a chapter, it turns out completely different the next day. Thx for the advice!
     
  15. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    No, it is actually pretty universal because it is just how the mind works. :)
     
  16. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    I edit midway because I have found plot holes. But I am working on a bohemoth of a novel, so even I can forget details, so I had to repeat info dumps, and mini dumps, and correct flaws within character logic etc.

    A question though. What's wrong about 3rd person omniscient? And what is this 3rd omniscient limited?

    AB
     
  17. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not an expert, but I think that 3rd person limited is where the story is narrated, but where the POV is limited to one character. Therefore we can only narrate what that character can see, and any internal monologue will come from that character. I.e. we can only see inside the head of the POV character. 3rd person omniscient is not limited, and we can see inside the head of any character. E.g. in romance, to show the relationship that is crucial to the story, we'll see inside the head of both people in the relationship. This can lead to 'head hopping' where the POV moves from one head to another, confusing the reader if this is not done sufficiently skilfully.
     
  18. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    Maybe in romance, I can see that being an issue. In sci-fi its tough not to use the 3rd omniscient. It's used in TV and cinema too. The best example (the one I can think of right now) are NCIS where they show the crime, some kidnapping and they show where the girl is held, something that the MCs dont know.

    It's a case that if dont limited would lose the hook. Since some of MC's may have figured it out, so you have a 3rd person omniscient where the narrator doesnt know what a MC knows already, and is revealed later on in a culmination point.

    Thank you, though for clarifying. Most enlightening.

    AB
     
  19. Inks
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    Plenty of Sci-fi is 3rd Limited, it is experienced through the protagonist as most other works. TV is a different medium and it is typically multiple POVs because you need the quick jumps in camera and focus to keep the viewer engaged. 3rd Limited is dominated by the focus on singular character's POV, but allowances for dramatic tension are acceptable.

    I also like this type of construction which flows in all the tenses without clutter:

    "Ah, the boy," Tellus paused to sip from his goblet. The boy would have to disappear, but thankfully the right man had already been contracted. Setting the goblet down once more, Tellus let out a soft sigh and asked, "How is he doing? Have you been teaching him swordplay?"
    Probably not a great passage, but I do a lot of this type of thing in 3rd Omni. I am sure someone is going to say that this breaks all the rules of regularly formatting and style, but I do like allowing clever antagonists to be well... jerks. Feigning care while testing for weaknesses. Also, yes "Tellus" is a pun.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  20. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Exactly.

    3rd limited loosens the tight POV grip that 1st has, and allows for varying degrees of separation of narrator and character. It's also worth noting that you can have multiple POV characters while still using 3rd limited--you just use one at a time. A change in POV is usually a new chapter, or at least a scene break.

    Trying to compare TV, film, and written fiction in terms of craft won't work because they are different formats with different rules. That's why stories change so much when being adapted from one to the other.
     
  21. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    I need to look up some examples. I get the feeling that even my own work isn't strictly 3rd omni.

    But it will have to wait until I'm back from being cut open, bolted and welded and sewn back up!

    AB
     

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