Narration Tense - Page 2


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Thread: Narration Tense

  1. #11
    To be honest I really hate first person present tense. More than my considerable hatred for first person tense as a whole. You can search the forums and find I've said as much in a dozen places.

    Why do I dislike it? I'm in the same camp as Bishop in that I could write you an essay. Suffice to say that it reads poorly and makes me want to poke my eyes out.

    Ever heard the advice that when you're writing an action scene you shouldn't give a blow-by-blow because that's not a good way to convey what is happening? Yeah, first present is like that. A blow-by-blow of the narrator's life in agonising slow motion. That's how it plays out in my head. There's also issues with the fact that first present is used so often by poorly written YA (see: Hunger Games) that I immediately associate that particular view point with complete drivel.

    But that's not to say it's not a valid way to write a book.

    It's just not my valid way.

    And I also wouldn't dismiss past tense as 'typical'. There's a reason people use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bishop View Post
    Third person omniscient in the past tense, to be a bit more exacting.
    It's not necessarily omniscient. Omniscient means that narrator has the introspective on all the characters and not just one. Like:

    "I'm cold." Sam said, rubbing his arms. He wished he had brought his jacket.
    "Me too." Kelly shivered. She wished Sam had brought his jacket so that she could borrow it.
    I have an extensive knowledge of Mean Girls quotes.

  2. #12
    It is silly to exclude any POV or tense from your range of possible voices when someday it might turn out to be the right one.

    It is equally silly to make E. L. James the representative of 1st person present tense; like pretty much everything else, she writes it badly, and certainly didn't invent anything. Read some Palahniuk; he does it well.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by lasm View Post
    Read some Palahniuk; he does it well.
    I have, and at the risk of sounding like a child throwing a tantrum, I didn't like it then either. And that was before first present became the vomitous standard for bad writers.

    And for the record I have actually attempted first person writing a number of times. It's not that hard to do, just feels wrong.
    I have an extensive knowledge of Mean Girls quotes.

  4. #14
    I think I'll agree with you guys on using active tense. After reading my first chapter a few times, I found myself subconsciously reading it in past tense, even though that's not how it's written. So, I'm re-writing it.

    As far as not liking first person, I think that's silly. If a story is about a certain character than there is no reason it shouldn't be from his/her point of view. That doesn't necessarily have to slow the pace of the story, either. My story revolves around a single person and his experiences. The experiences become much more personal when he's telling us about them himself.

    Though, that's still just an opinion.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by popsprocket View Post
    I have, and at the risk of sounding like a child throwing a tantrum, I didn't like it then either. And that was before first present became the vomitous standard for bad writers.

    And for the record I have actually attempted first person writing a number of times. It's not that hard to do, just feels wrong.
    Wow, seriously?

    The vast majority of books written are done in the third person. Many of those books are bad. How can you imagine that first present is the standard bearer for bad writing?
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  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Bishop View Post
    It's becoming rather common. Why? Because the 50 Shades books are written this way.

    I've always said I dislike 1st person, and I dislike 1st person active voice even more. I like it to seem like someone's telling the story as if they were sitting across from me at a campfire, to give it an image.
    Nonsense. First person present was well known far before 50 Shades hit the scene. To make 50 shades the reason why others write in first person present is a HUGE assumption on your part.

    I write in first person present because it works for my stories. Having never read 50 shades, I can tell you honestly, it never had even the slightest impact on how I write or my decision to write in that tense and perspective.
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  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Bishop View Post
    Not in the least, but if there's one thing my English degree can do, it's this. Sadly, still have yet to find the job title of "British Literaturer" so, you know, I'm stuck with pointing out third person omniscient narratives until then!
    Fair enough. I'll keep that in mind. LOL
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  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by -AT View Post
    I think I'll agree with you guys on using active tense. After reading my first chapter a few times, I found myself subconsciously reading it in past tense, even though that's not how it's written. So, I'm re-writing it.

    As far as not liking first person, I think that's silly. If a story is about a certain character than there is no reason it shouldn't be from his/her point of view. That doesn't necessarily have to slow the pace of the story, either. My story revolves around a single person and his experiences. The experiences become much more personal when he's telling us about them himself.

    Though, that's still just an opinion.
    Just to be clear on terms, there's no such thing as "active" tense. There's passive and active voice (active=agent is also grammatical subject, passive=object is grammatical subject) but these can occur in any tense.

    I've been rereading Katherine Dunn's Geek Love. Great book. Very appropriate 1st person present for current events, past for earlier life. Can't imagine limiting my reading or my writing based on POV.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Tettsuo View Post
    Nonsense. First person present was well known far before 50 Shades hit the scene. To make 50 shades the reason why others write in first person present is a HUGE assumption on your part.
    50 Shades of Dumb didn't make 1st person a big deal, but 1st person present tense. That's my issue, the two put together.

    1st person's been around for ages, but it's really only recently with YA and really bad pop novels like 50 that have started really incorporating active tense. That being said, I'm aware that no book has an effect so profound that any one writing technique can be "blamed" on it, but my hatred for particular books (Scarlet Letter, 50 Shades) leads me to make broad, hyperbolic statements about them. I do this because I am a crusader against the darkness that comes... tell no one. >.>
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  10. #20
    Member A_Jones's Avatar
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    wow so much hate. This is how I myself write. I would appreciate it if you were to read my work, it is called FAE I have chapters 1-5 posted. I personally think I do a good job at this narrative tense. You should not worry about it. Yes, there will be people who will not read your work because of your voice, but really, it doesn't matter. This is your work AT YOURS, dont let anyone tell you you are doing it improperly. You should always write how you feel is best!
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