Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Different POV

Recently, I’ve been writing in a different POV. Usually, I go for third person limited, past tense. But then when I started writing this new book…it came out in first person present.

Like, whoa.

I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I just reread THE HUNGER GAMES a few weeks ago. Maybe it just fits the story (although as a pantser, I only have a vague notion of what that is). Either way, it’s completely different from my usual MO. And I like it.

It’s a lot of fun. The MC, Ember, is very observant (she kind of has to be), so that helps. And she describes everything quick and simple, because she doesn’t usually have time to get into detail.

One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is how involved you get with the character. Not only is it her POV, but it’s happening to her right now. It keeps a lot of tension up. For me, anyway. I should probably have someone else give it a look so I know I’m getting it right.

I’m a little worried about the pitfalls of present tense writing. The one thing I’ve heard over and over again is that the reader should not notice the tense. It should be easy to fall into reading it. For example, take the sentence “I stop and look.” Does anyone actually think “I stop”? No. They don’t. And the reader will notice.

So, does anyone have any tips for present tense writing? I’m still new at it and pointers would be great. And everyone: what’s your opinion on books in the present tense? Yay or nay?


  1. Read a LOT of stuff in present tense. I write mostly in present. Always in first person - characters first for me- must be IN their head :D

  2. I've never tried it myself. Good luck to you!

  3. I write in first person present tense all the time, it's just what comes naturally to me! I hope it goes well for you.

  4. My first person present tense novel is one of my favourites!

  5. I have never considered writing in present tense. The thought makes me shudder.

  6. First person present tense is like my default POV choice--it comes very naturally for me.

    Good luck!

  7. I usually do third person too, or first person past. But I've enjoyed quite a number of present tense books. All the best.

  8. I've never written in the present tense, but I did read all the way through Across the Universe and had about three pages to go before I noticed it was in present tense. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing?


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