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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bishop View Post
    , but it's really only recently with YA and really bad pop novels like 50 that have started really incorporating active tense.
    This is not true. I have an extensive ya library, first person present has been quite big for twenty years now. However YA is only just now becoming more read.
    Just another person trying to make her mark on the world. Everyone has something to say. I hope someday mine might be heard. I am looking for people who are like me.
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  2. #22
    Whoops, didn't mean to post this.
    Last edited by Kyle R; March 24th, 2014 at 05:10 PM.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by KyleColorado View Post
    I love first person tense, just as I love third person past. They each have a different feel to them, and, yes, they each require different techniques.

    A short I wrote recently was done in first person present. Here's the opening two lines:

    I’m fifty miles off the Australian coast when the bullet slashes through Augusta’s helium bladder, punctuating my mid-morning breakfast with a resounding slap. The impact tears open an arm-sized gash that flutters in the air like an open zipper, and the next thing I know the clouds are rushing up all around me.

    The reasons I decided on first person present for this story:

    1) Immediacy. It's a short action/adventure piece, and the "it's happening right here, right now" effect of first present works well here.
    2) Intentionally biased narration. The narrator
    STOP! Don't you know that sounds terribly unprofessional?!

    /sarcasm
    Where you can purchase a copy of Fallen Sun, my second novel. Hidden Content

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tettsuo View Post
    STOP! Don't you know that sounds terribly unprofessional?!

    /sarcasm
    Yeah! what Tettsuo said!
    Just another person trying to make her mark on the world. Everyone has something to say. I hope someday mine might be heard. I am looking for people who are like me.
    "I hope your bacon burns," -- Calcifer Howl's Moveing Castle Diana Wynne Jones

  5. #25
    I think the issues with the guys that don't like it is that they personally haven't read anything that uses the perspective properly or in a good way (hence the Scarlet Letter and 50 Shades examples). I personally haven't either, but at the same time, I don't really recall reading anything in this voice, so I'm open minded to it.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by -AT View Post
    I think the issues with the guys that don't like it is that they personally haven't read anything that uses the perspective properly or in a good way (hence the Scarlet Letter and 50 Shades examples). I personally haven't either, but at the same time, I don't really recall reading anything in this voice, so I'm open minded to it.
    Contrary to popular belief, first person present tense is rare. The vast majority of books are written in third person past tense.

    I grew up mostly reading comics. Comics are always written in the present tense. It's only when I got into my twenties did I start to read novels, so for me both past and present tense have been normalized.

    If all of the books you loved to read were in past tense third person, it's natural that your writing will be reflective of what you've been exposed to. What I find tiresome, is the hate for first person present tense and the discounting of it as a valid means of storytelling.
    Where you can purchase a copy of Fallen Sun, my second novel. Hidden Content

  7. #27
    I'm a fan of first person present. When done well, it reads beautifully.

    I agree with Lasm and Tetsuo—pointing at poorly-written examples does nothing, really, but point at poor writing.

    I can throw up a bunch of poorly-written third person past examples, too, and say, "See? Third person past is lousy." But that would be a weak argument as well.

    Any style of narration can work well if executed with skill, in my opinion.

    I think there's a bit of a lack of experience with present tense (as readers, or as writers) that leads many to misalign it only with popular Young Adult Fiction. Frankly, as both a reader of YA and a writer of it, I find the assumption rather annoying.

    Sorry, but no, YA is not responsible for the present tense movement (either first or third). It's been used in Adult Fiction long before YA even became a genre.

    Authors who used the present tense include: Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and John Updike. You also have more recent names using present tense, either intermittently, or exclusively, such as Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahniuk, Jennifer Egan, Anthony Doerr, Junot Diaz, Karen Russell.

    It's especially popular with modern Literary Fiction writers, who, in many cases, wield it so powerfully that I've often found myself wondering why writers would even bother adopting the clumsier third person past approach, in comparison with the more lyrical, streamlined prose that first person present offers.

    But that's kind of the illusion that a good writer creates: when something is written extremely well, it's hard to imagine it being written any other way.

    The same can be said of brilliantly-written third person past. When done well, it seems like it's the only way the story could have been written.

    I guess that's the wonderful thing about reading and writing—everyone's entitled to their own viewpoint, and free to adopt their own approach. It also proves, in my opinion, that any approach can work.

    My main concern is how first person present seems to get tossed around as if it's a modern-day, amateuristic form of writing. Tell that to experienced, Booker-Prize winning author Margaret Atwood, who started penning Cat's Eye (a first person present novel) in the 1960's. It ended up as a finalist for multiple awards.
    Last edited by Kyle R; March 24th, 2014 at 05:28 PM.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleColorado View Post
    I'm a fan of first person present. When done well, it reads beautifully.

    I agree with Lasm and Tetsuo—pointing at poorly-written examples does nothing, really, but point at poor writing.

    I can throw up a bunch of poorly-written third person past examples, too, and say, "See? Third person past is lousy." But that would be a weak argument as well.

    Any style of narration can work well if executed with skill, in my opinion.

    I think there's a bit of a lack of experience with present tense (as readers, or as writers) that leads many to misalign it only with popular Young Adult Fiction. Frankly, as both a reader of YA and a writer of it, I find the assumption rather annoying.

    Sorry, but no, YA is not responsible for the present tense movement (either first or third). It's been used in Adult Fiction long before YA even became a genre.

    Authors who used the present tense include: Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and John Updike. You also have more recent names using present tense, either intermittently, or exclusively, such as Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahniuk, Jennifer Egan, Anthony Doerr, Junot Diaz, Karen Russell.

    It's especially popular with modern Literary Fiction writers, who, in many cases, wield it so powerfully that I've often found myself wondering why writers would even bother adopting the clumsier third person past approach, in comparison with the more lyrical, streamlined prose that first person present offers.

    But that's kind of the illusion that a good writer creates: when something is written extremely well, it's hard to imagine it being written any other way.

    The same can be said of brilliantly-written third person past. When done well, it seems like it's the only way the story could have been written.

    I guess that's the wonderful thing about reading and writing—everyone's entitled to their own viewpoint, and free to adopt their own approach. It also proves, in my opinion, that any approach can work.

    My main concern is how first person present seems to get tossed around as if it's a modern-day, amateuristic form of writing. Tell that to experienced, Booker-Prize winning author Margaret Atwood, who started penning Cat's Eye (a first person present novel) in the 1960's. It ended up as a finalist for multiple awards.
    I look forward to the time when first person present isn't scorned because of the terrible books that have ruined it and made it look amateuristic. I hope to wield it well.
    Just another person trying to make her mark on the world. Everyone has something to say. I hope someday mine might be heard. I am looking for people who are like me.
    "I hope your bacon burns," -- Calcifer Howl's Moveing Castle Diana Wynne Jones

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by -AT View Post
    I think the issues with the guys that don't like it is that they personally haven't read anything that uses the perspective properly or in a good way (hence the Scarlet Letter and 50 Shades examples). I personally haven't either, but at the same time, I don't really recall reading anything in this voice, so I'm open minded to it.
    Okay, couple things! I've read many books that use it properly, but I still hate it. Even when used properly, I wonder if the narration could have been better if used in 3rd person past tense. One of my favorite books (Heart of Darkness) is written in 1st person, albeit past tense. It's beautifully done, and offers a very pointed perspective on the events. The tale is made much better by his personal observations, and I love it.

    Also, Scarlet Letter is third person past, and yet remains my most hated book. By far. Seriously, when I get to the afterlife, Nathaniel Hawthorne and I are gonna have words.

    I often talk about growing up reading cheap sci-fi, and that's where my bias stems from. The books I read are and were 3rd person past. These are the books I love, because they're the subject matter I love. I refuse to compromise and I am often unkind about it! Closed minded? Maybe. I just know what I like, and that's that. I dislike YA books, and even more so the current influx (I realize this is not where it started and a lot of books in the past have this style, but it's getting used most readily by YA, call it a trend) of the first person present perspective. It sounds unprofessional to me, just because the classics and tawdry sci-fi novels I grew up with are the pinnacle of writing to me. If people write that way, it's cool. That's what you're going for. Odds are, I'd still read it, as I'm of the firm belief that every book, good or bad, hated or loved, has a lesson to teach the reader (including Scarlet Letter and 50 Shlups).

    That all being said, I'm gonna go on hatin' what I hate!
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bishop View Post
    Okay, couple things! I've read many books that use it properly, but I still hate it. Even when used properly, I wonder if the narration could have been better if used in 3rd person past tense.
    What if the writer has a tough time keeping it as intimate as they would like with a third person?

    OR, perhaps the writer is writing a book in the same genre with the same subject matter as another persons well received book. In that case the best thing the writer can do is write in a style so separate to the other author that the connection would not be placed.

    I completely understand disliking a writing style... its the scorn I have a hard time accepting.
    Just another person trying to make her mark on the world. Everyone has something to say. I hope someday mine might be heard. I am looking for people who are like me.
    "I hope your bacon burns," -- Calcifer Howl's Moveing Castle Diana Wynne Jones

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