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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Point of View and Tenses

Today I'm going to talk about different points of view and tenses. No I can't help you choose one for your story. Mostly because there's no set formula, especially for me. I just go with whichever one I feel most comfortable with and feels...right.

Let's take a look at the different POVs (Point of View) first.

First - This one's my personal favorite, but I know a lot of people (my mom included) can't stand it. For me it's really awesome for getting inside the character's head and writing from their POV. It's so much more personal that way. It uses 'I' and 'me'.

Example: I trip as I make my way up the stairs. My knees scrape against the tile floor and I grit my teeth as my funny bone collides with the railing. A pair of shoes appear at the edge of my vision and then a hand reaches down. I reach up for it and whisper a quick thanks to the rather cute boy that helped me up.

Second: I've never tried this one and it's very difficult to get right. It's also fairly annoying to read and write. I wouldn't suggest using it unless you're writing a short story and just want to give yourself a challenge.

Example: You trip as you make your way up the stairs. Your knees scrape against the tile floor and you grit your teeth as your funny bones collides with the railing.

Third: This is another popular one. A lot of stories are written in third person and it works great for authors who want to remain separated from the MC. Perhaps they have more than one MC or they just don't want to get as close to them as first. Or maybe the author is like my mom and 'just doesn't like first.'

Example: Jennifer trips as she makes her way up the stairs. Her knees scrape against the tile floor and she grits her teeth as her funny bone collides with the railing.

Now let's take a look at the two different tenses and a couple examples.

Past: Probably the most popular of the two tenses and definitely the most common until recently. Because most people are used to it, it's probably the easier of the two tenses as well.

Example: The killer chased his victim through the woods. He gained on her with every stride until she tripped, sprawling out on the ground and gasping as she tried to catch her breath. He grinned, almost right on top of her.

Present: This is my favorite tense right now. You may have noticed that the POV examples from earlier are in present...I'm having a lot of trouble writing in anything, but right now. Both Jump and Shipwrecked are being written in present, a lot of the books I'm reading right now are written in this tense including Hunger Games, Break, Handcuffs Wake, and Fade. While it did take some getting used to, I hate going back to past. It's so much more action-y than past.

Example: The killer chases his victim through the woods. He gains on her with every stride until she trips, sprawling out on the ground and gasping as she tries to catch her breath. He grins, almost right on top of her.

And that's all for today. I'd suggest trying everything (except second person, I don't even know why I put that in here) at least once to see what you like and don't like. Who knows, you might end up addicted to first person present tense like me. :D And don't forget to enter my flash fiction challenge! Deadline for entries is Friday at midnight!

1 comments:

choco said...

I've started writing in present tense too now, and I LOVE it!
I don't think I can ever go back to past :)