Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Tenses Up

Or: On writing tenses.

So let's start by defining past and present tense before we do anything else, okay? Just so we're all on the same page.

Present - I am writing a blog post. I type this as we speak. My feet are cold. (This is first person present tense, to be exact.) Also - She runs her fingers through her hair. She is sick. (This is third person present tense.)

Past - I rubbed my forehead. My eye twitched. (First person past tense.) Her stomach ached. She walked across the room. (Third person past tense - also, all my examples are kind of depressing, aren't they?)

So most of the time I write in first person past tense. (I'm not good at writing in third person. Really not good.) Both Spyder and Berserk are first person past tense.


You know that new book I'm writing? The one that if you follow me on Twitter, you've seen me call weird, annoying, weird, frustrating, weird, etc? It's in first person present tense. Which is... wait for it... weird. But when I started writing it (in past tense), it didn't feel right. So about four thousand words in, I scrapped the draft and started again - this time in present tense.

Now there are benefits and disadvantages to both.

Advantages to present tense:

- More immediate, more right in the action


- It's harder to do well
- Some people really don't like it.
- If you're me and you start writing in present, when you go to write in past, your tenses will slip.

Advantages to past tense:

- More traditionally accepted
- Somewhat easier


- Some people really don't like it. (And this is why you shouldn't write for other people. Write for yourself.)

So what do you guys write in? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it?

Peace and cookies,