Feeling A Little Tense?

Step right up and spin the wheel, was it past, is it present or will it be future?  Sister Sara—yes, my fellow blogger and Saturday Writers crony—and I got into the discussion of which tense we prefer to use and or read.  She backs the past and usually I do too…that is until lately

In my WIP–those of you who follow me on the social networking sites have herd me whine and complain about Disenchanted–I’ve used present or should that be, I use?  I started out with past tense, but it wasn’t working, yet I couldn’t let it go.  I reworked and rewrote but nothing seemed to help, it still didn’t ‘feel’ right.  One night–I’d like to say it was one stormy night but it was only your average beat your head against the keyboard night–it became easier.

The next day I read what I’d written.  Someone flipped the switch, the lights where on and I was home.  Where it began to make sense and look like something was where it changed tenses!  So I reworked the rest and continued on, who am I to argue with the muse?

Now back to the previously scheduled program, as I was saying Sara and I were discussing tense.  Basically how my choice of present was driving her insane, not that she didn’t like what I’d written, more along the lines of it being so different.  My stance is different is sometimes good, great even, especially when I’m looking for new books.  I like new, exciting ideas, twists on old ideas and ways of presenting them.  Moral of the story different strokes for different folks.  I’ve said many times, if we all liked the same thing, we’d be fighting over the same book.

Am I telling you to switch the tense of your story?  Hell no, but I will suggest trying out a tense you haven’t used, even if it’s just for a writing exercise.  Go ahead, expand your writing skills and your mind, try something different.  I dare you!

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A.R. Miller

A.R. Miller’s contemporary fantasy series, Fey Creations, has been compared to potato chips. ‘Absolutely no nutritional value, but fun to eat and highly addictive.’ A great complement considering potato chips are in the top five of her favorite foods and she strives to do nothing but entertain with her writing. The series revolves around stylist, Keely Fey, the secrets of her heritage and suppressed magical Talents. A.R. lives in Central Iowa with an accommodating husband and their feline companion. When not testing the patience of readers with cliffhanger endings, you might find her wielding a makeup brush or curling iron as a freelance stylist. The next installment of the Fey Creations series is scheduled for later this year.

2 thoughts on “Feeling A Little Tense?”

  1. Sister Sara here… 🙂 Where’s my mule? Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

    I’ve been reconsidering my position. First person rpesent tense is different, and it does make you pay more attention as you read (maybe that’s a benefit in and of itself?), and yes, sometimes it makes my head hurt, but I can see how it can be a valuable tool. I started a book recently that has a prologue in 1st present, and then switches to 1st past. It took some getting used to, but I’m catching up.

    And, even though I’m personally a little tired of all the 1st person stuff, I decided to see how it felt on my own story. I took the first scene from Gemma and rewrote. Not bad. Okay, I’ll admit, I liked it.

    So maybe I just need to step out of my comfort zone and look at things a little differently, not get grumpy because things aren’t easy and predictable.

    So, um, Amy, how’s that rewrite coming? I’m gonna be ready for a new 1st person present soon.

  2. I always thought it was a given I was or would that be I am the mule.

    I understand the being tired of 1st person stuff, considering most of what I read. As for making the reader pay more attention huzzah!

    The rewrite was put on hold for a while, but I’ll be swinging back into it soon. If you need some new 1st person present I suggest either Jeanne C. Stein’s Anna Strong series or Jeri Smith-Ready’s vampire DJs in the WVMP radio series.

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