Wednesday 4 September 2013

The pros and cons of writing in first person present tense part II

Taken at Blickling Hall, Norfolk (National Trust)
One of the first blog posts I wrote, back in October 2011 was this one:

The pros and cons of writing in first person present tense

I can’t believe how popular this post has been compared to others. It's even overtaken Why do I write?, which was the front-runner for a while.

Every day someone out there searches the web for information about the first person present tense.

Recent searches which led to the aforementioned post:
Advantages of writing in present tense
Advantages of writing story in past tense
Benefit of writing in first person present
Books can be written first person present tense and past tense
Does first person use present tense

When I started writing Book 2, The Painting, I decided to use first person present tense for the current day part and third person past tense for the eighteenth century part. The idea was to contrast the slow pace of life in the late 1700s with the I want it now world of today.
With Book 1, The Grandson, I avoided first person present tense for the current day protagonist because I worried about her becoming me. With The Painting, that thought hasn’t crossed my mind, probably because the protagonist is completely different from myself and I’m creating her whole life from my imagination.

I received my partial manuscript for The Painting back from the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme this week and the reader said the tenses I’ve used work. Thank goodness for that, I can carry on now as I was! Thank you to my anonymous reader for such encouraging and helpful feedback.

Hope you’ve all had a good summer. School holidays are over and hopefully I’ll get back to more regular blogging and tweeting now.

What are your thoughts on writing or reading first person present tense?