Ask the Audience!

2 Dec

Today we thought we’d do something a little different and ask our audience a question instead of answering questions ourselves!

The question we wish to ask you is this: What tense and POV do you prefer to write in?

We look forward to hearing your answers!

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26 Responses to “Ask the Audience!”

  1. Kayleigh December 2, 2009 at 1:14 PM #

    My favorite is first-person, present or past tense. I used to always write in past tense, but I tried present tense and I love it; but it takes time to get use to.

  2. Emily December 2, 2009 at 1:27 PM #

    My fave is first person, with past tense usually, though my short stories tend to be third person.

  3. Sandy Shin December 2, 2009 at 1:28 PM #

    When I first started writing, I stuck to third-limited, past tense, because that’s the standard and majority of novels I read then were written that way. After years of reading online fiction, however, my style is shifting towards the third person, present tense. There is a feel of intimacy with present tense that I love. However, I do consider it present tense to be harder than past tense, and might change my novel back to past if it doesn’t work out.

    I seldom ever try first person, not because I dislike it, but rather because I can’t do it well. I can’t seem to get quite that close to my characters. 🙂

    • Alexandra Shostak December 2, 2009 at 10:18 PM #

      If you can do third person present, you are a rare breed! I think that is the HARDEST tense/pov combination to pull off. I’m totally afraid to even try it, so I’m so impressed that you’ve committed to writing an entire novel in it!

      • Sandy Shin December 3, 2009 at 10:25 AM #

        I just love reading in third person present (it’s an acquired taste, I’ve got to admit). Writing in it, however, is different, and very difficult. I’ll switch back to past tense if it doesn’t work out.

  4. Marina December 2, 2009 at 1:30 PM #

    I started off writing first person, past tense. Now, I also write third person, but I still stick to the past tense. I find it easier and I like to get inside my character’s heads and show what they are really thinking.

  5. Alexandra December 2, 2009 at 1:32 PM #

    Is this cheating?

    I’ve written in first person and third person (both limited and omniscient) and in both tenses. I tend to stick with third person limited in past tense because that’s the voice that’s fit my novels best so far. I’ve never really thought up an idea I thought would work better in first person, but I’d try to use it (even though I’m bad at it) if I did. I only do short stories in present tense, and only if they’re in first person. I don’t like third person present, I feel like it’s awkward, especially in fantasy novels, which is basically all that I write.

    • junebugger December 3, 2009 at 1:09 AM #

      *giggles at your first line*

  6. Stephanie December 2, 2009 at 1:47 PM #

    I usually write in third person, past tense, though I did try first person for my NaNo this year. I think I tried present tense once, but it was just too weird so I went back to past tense.

  7. Gabby December 2, 2009 at 2:43 PM #

    It depends on the story. Some I write in first person present tense, and others I write in third person past tense, though I’m currently trying out third person present tense. Not sure if I like it yet.

    • svonnah December 3, 2009 at 6:18 AM #

      I love first-person, present-tense. I use it in dramatic and/or emotionally-charged situations.

  8. sara December 2, 2009 at 3:09 PM #

    I like first or third past tense. I appreciate a good present tense story – but I don’t think I have what it takes to write one!! My current WIP is first person… But I’m having trouble choosing between first and third for the one I’m planning to start next. I can’t stop wavering about it!

    • Alexandra Shostak December 2, 2009 at 10:15 PM #

      I totally agree with you regarding present tense. I tried to write in it once, just a short story, and the entire thing was like pulling teeth. I kept switching back, or having to re-word awkward things that just wouldn’t be awkward in past tense. It didn’t help that I was writing in first person, and my first person skills are not up to par with my third person skills.

      Is this the WIP you’ve talked about in e-mail? Dude, I’d like… write some in both, and see where it goes. I am so excited–keep me updated!

  9. Vee December 2, 2009 at 3:26 PM #

    First person present tense, for sure. I just cannot, for the life of me, write third.

  10. Savannah J. Foley December 2, 2009 at 3:50 PM #

    I prefer to write in first person, because it’s easier to talk about thoughts and internal feelings. I like to use third person in short bursts for in-between chapters, or brief views into the lives of others.

  11. Rachel S December 2, 2009 at 5:16 PM #

    OMG don’t even ASK me about my tenses! 😉 Thats the one thing I always get marked up on — I tend to switch from present to past in just one sentence. I prefer writing in first, although the longest thing I’ve ever written/most decent (er, so far) is the WIP and that is third person.

    I can say I am not a huge fan of second person! Those ‘adventure’ stories never got me sucked in.

    • Alexandra Shostak December 2, 2009 at 10:13 PM #

      Hang on–second person? Do you mean like the “choose your own ending” kind of stories?

      • Rachel S December 3, 2009 at 9:52 AM #

        Yes, the ‘choose your own ending’ kind of stories. Blargh! I remember wanting to have ALL the options, not just ‘turn to page 5 if you agree with this…’

        But second person (you) in general I could never really get into. It just didn’t spark any interest in me.

  12. Rowenna December 2, 2009 at 8:46 PM #

    I prefer past-tense nearly exclusively–it’s instinctive to write and to read for me. It seems that it’s rarer for a writer to pull off present tense effectively–but when it’s done well, it flows wonderfully.

    I also prefer third-person nearly exclusively–but I like to use multiple perspectives. I like working from one character’s perspective, get in his or her head, see what he or she sees, then switch to another character for another scene. I occasionally play with writing first person, but only one of the half-dozen stories floating in my head would work well in first. And I don’t think I’m too good at writing in first, either!

    In terms of preferred tense and POV, I tend to like to read what I like to write–are others like that, too? Or do you like to, say, write in third but really enjoy a story told in first?

    • Alexandra Shostak December 2, 2009 at 10:12 PM #

      You know, your question got me thinking. I won’t put a book down if I see that it’s in first person or present tense (although there have been times that I’ve not bought something because of present tense, I hate to admit,) but I do think I enjoy third person and past tense (which is what I typically write in) a lot more. I don’t know if it’s because I connect with the voice, or am just more comfortable with it, or what, but almost all of my favorite books, now that I think about it, are in third/past. I wonder if that has something to do with it…

  13. Amanda Waldo December 2, 2009 at 10:40 PM #

    It depends on what genre I’m writing. For my fantasy novels I prefer third person/past tense, but if I’m writing post modern fiction I absolutely love first person/present tense. I don’t know why genre makes a difference, but it’s just worked out that way. I would really like to try writing a story in third person present tense, but I don’t think it’d go anywhere near novel length.

    • Alexandra Shostak December 3, 2009 at 5:54 PM #

      I agree with you–I think first person present is a lot more post-modern. I expect it a lot more when picking up a modern piece of literature, just as I expect third person past (or potentially first person past) when picking up a fantasy novel. Actually… are there any fantasy novels in first person present? Not YA or urban fantasy, but like straight up epic/high/sword and sorcery fantasy?

      • Amanda Waldo December 3, 2009 at 8:39 PM #

        I racked my brain trying to think of one, heck I’ll even admit I googled it, but I couldn’t think or find anything that wasn’t urban. That would be a really fun project, but again I’m not sure how far it would go beyond experimenting. If I found one though, I would totally want ot read it.

  14. Samantha December 3, 2009 at 2:09 AM #

    I think writing in the first person is way easier cause like you know exactly how to feel sometimes and how to put it down properly but the third person gives you a wider range of stuff to write. You can write about how the other person is feeling without having to be like Kristin Cashore’s Fire or psychic. Haha, but third person is difficult too cause you don’t know how much NOT to write. Definitely past tense 🙂 Always thought writing in the present tense (i.e. In Search for an Impotent Man) was kinda weird 😛

  15. Cassandra December 7, 2009 at 1:36 PM #

    I tend to use first person POV (past tense with present thoughts sneaking in) when it comes to humorous or YA stories and third person POV (past) when it’s either serious or I have two or more MCs that I want to lend a voice to. Although, right now, I’m doing a first person POV with a serious story, so I break my own rules! Alas . . . it just depends on the feel of the story.

  16. Nise Tucker December 7, 2009 at 7:39 PM #

    I almost always write in first person. Though on several occasions I have found myself veering off into 3 person. I think 3 person is hard to pull off but can be very effective depending on the story.

    I love reading all types of pov’s though.

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