Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Person Present Tense

Sorry, you won't be getting it from me any time soon.
The first book I recall reading in first person present tense was HUNGER GAMES. It was an uncomfortable read. I preferred third person past, although I occasionally tolerated first person past, and all of my writing was in third past. By the time I finished MOCKING JAY, not only was I a fan of reading first present, I had begun writing in it too.

Two things changed my mind about first person present tense. First was getting used to it. The flow is different and takes time to adjust to reading. The second, and more important reason, was I realized first present is the way we live now. Once upon a time, genteel young ladies ended their day writing discreetly in their diaries. Past tense, because what had happened that day was in the past, third person because genteel young ladies did not write about themselves. Today we tweet and update our social media statuses while we're in the middle of the action, first person present tense.

HUNGER GAMES has been out long enough that most people are no longer calling writing in first person present tense a fad. There are pros and cons to using any tense. Use the one that works best for you and your story.

No comments: