1. Jupie

    Jupie Senior Member

    Aug 12, 2011
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    First person -- past or present tense?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Jupie, Oct 20, 2013.

    I've started writing a novel which is split between two different realms (it has an astrology theme) so I've wanted to get across this difference by changing the narration. It begins in third person and later changes to first but I wanted to ask your opinions on the use of tense.

    When you read a first person novel do you prefer to see it in the present tense, like The Hunger Games for instance, or do you like it more in the past tense, which I suppose sounds like the character has already experienced everything and is telling you the story. That's how I often read past tense stories, anyhow. Do you think it interrupts the pace of the story? I would like my story to read like you can connect with it and imagine you are the character rather than it just being a story told by an author and you're reading it.

    I have never really written in first person before so it's taking some getting used to. So far I've found you write faster and it comes to you easier than third...but there are other disadvantages as you haven't got that omniscient view...
  2. Tara

    Tara Senior Member

    Sep 11, 2013
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    The Netherlands
    I never really notice the difference between reading a past tense and a present tense; I'll be able to imagine the events like I'm in the middle of them anyway. I think you should just choose how you want to write it.

    I wouldn't really see the differences between first and third person writing as (dis)advantages, you can use the differences to add suspense to the story. Some stories are way more interesting because they don't have the "omniscient view", other stories are more interesting because you know someone is planning something before the MC knows it.

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