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Today’s topic comes from the wonderful Carrie Elks – Writing can be in-tense. Do you have a preferred POV (First, second or third person) and do you like writing in past or present tense? How about when you choose a book to read – do the tense and POV come into that choice? Have you ever written or read a book that breaks all your rules yet is so much better for it?
I am very partial to third-person past-tense in reading and writing. it just feels more natural to me. I have read and enjoyed many first-person novels but unless I can really identify with the character, I find it had sometimes to stay in their head in first-person.
That said, I have started writing a novel in first-person that is also present-tense. More as a test to see if I can actually write like this, I also feel the way the main characters point of view changes over the course of the novel makes putting it in present tense more impactful.
Here’s a snippet of Destiny: Cloud Fist
An explosion rocks the ship, throwing me out of bed, and across the cabin. I slam into the wall bruising my head and opening a cut on my left hand. By the time I bandage my hand, throw on some clothes, and make my way to the bridge the hull is already breached and power-suited Korg commandos are on board the Cloud Fist.
“I want those shields up now,” Captain Pulsian is saying as I rush through the hatchway, “and get security to all the main corridors. Keep those commandos off the bridge.”
It’s a relief to see the Captain already on the bridge and in charge. I think maybe we still have a chance. Maybe. It’s my job to be at his side whenever I am on duty and to get to his side whenever there is an emergency like this attack. I’m the ship’s boy, the Captain’s errand runner.
“Anders,” the Captain says. He always calls me by my last name.
“Yes, sir,” I say. Proud to be serving such a great man.
“You’re on Com Two until someone show’s up who knows what they’re doing.”
There’s a body on the floor lying in a pool of blood behind the Com Two station chair. It looks like Matt Chandler, but I can’t be sure. I like Matt. He’s a good guy. But I don’t take time to see if he’s still breathing. I know combat protocol. The Captain drills us all on it constantly. So I sit down in front of the big communications control station.
I know very little about the shipboard communications panel. I’ve never been trained, and I wonder what the Captain expects me to do here. I start to look over the Com Two station to see if it makes any sense, ‘cause that’s orders, and it’s my job to follow the Captain’s orders. It’s to my luck that beside me at Com One is Maura Reuter. She reaches over and flips a few switches on my panel then hands me the head set.
I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. It’s a lot of work to stay in present-tense. I’d love to know what you think of the story and the way I’m telling it.
Let me know in the comments below then slip over to Brenda Margriet’s post as the RWW Blog Hop continues at: http://www.brendamargriet.com/blog
I quite enjoy present tense when done right – and I think you’ve got a great scene here, Steven! Present certainly feels more immediate!
Thanks Brenda. ♥