Tuesday, May 21, 2013

#amwriting Help! I have Schizophrenia!

I'm going crazy again. 

I keep switching from third person POV to first person POV and from past tense to present tense. 

Typically, I like first person POV, because it makes me empathize with the character more.  In addition, since I love YA fantasy and sci-fi lit, it helps me live vicariously through the main protagonist.  Who wouldn't want to have wings or fight dragons or be courted by a hot prince?  That seems to be just my personal preference, because I have read and enjoyed many books written in third person or told from an omniscient narrator's POV.  With my current WIP, I do not feel like the story would be better served by simply sticking to my comfort zone and going with first person.  That's probably the reason I keep switching to third person.  For this story, third person just feels right, and I think it sheds more light on one particular character's motives where they might otherwise be unclear if the story was told in first person.  Just sitting here and typing this out has actually helped me solidify my decision.   

The past vs. present tense debacle is the once that has me really confused.

On the one hand, my inner voice is saying, "It's action packed!  Live in the moment!  Go present tense!"  On the other hand, my inner voice says, "No, you're telling a story.  Reflect and think back so that you can work in the critical details.  And also no one writes in present tense." 


I read an interesting blog post quite some time ago about present tense.  It was not a pleasant review.  In fact, the more I look into it, the more it seems like present tense, while once universally condemned, is becoming more and more popular.  Here's the problem: it is incredibly difficult to do well.  When I write in present tense, sentences seem more choppy - "I run to the store and buy a carton of milk.  The police chase me.  I run out of the store and..."  It seems like you have to write everything in minute detail, because you don't have the power to reflect like you do when you're in writing past tense.  With past tense, the storyteller has already experienced the events, and he/she has presumably had an opportunity to process them and present them in a cohesive, interesting manner.  Therefore, I am going to stick with past tense.     
Wow.  Now that I've worked my way through this problem, I can rest easy.  And not think about setting things on fire. 
Or becoming a crazy cat lady...
Have a nice day :-)

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