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POV and tense
Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:51 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 244

This has been on my mind lately but I'm just curious.  A) Is there a tense or POV you can't stand reading?  B)  Does this prevent you from finishing a book you've bought or checked out from the library?

I write in third person.  I've occasionally experimented with first but those stories don't usually even get finished.

I write in past tense because it feels more natural to my stories.  I've never experimented with other tenses.

A couple years ago or so I started reading a book that was written in third person present tense (I think it was third).  I couldn't stand it and put the book down, never to finish.  It felt choppy.  The sentences were all short with no flow.

Late in December I read a book that was in first person present tense and I didn't realize it was in present until more than halfway through the book.  May have even been 2/3 through.

The other day I picked up a book that was in first person present tense and it was something I picked up on with the first page.  A combination of this and other factors led me to abandoning the book.  I wasn't swept into the story and part of it was that I noticed the writing more than the storytelling and when I'm reading for pleasure I want the writing to be invisible.
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 3:02 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 353

Bumping this up.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 6:36 PM
I have a difficult time reading first person present. It just ... I dunno. It just doesn't feel right or something.

Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015 5:06 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1356

Such an interesting question!


I have written in first person present tense, and I chose it because I felt like it was simpler--the character and reader experience everything as it's happening in real time.


However, I think as a reader I like a third person past tense best. It just feels classic. That's what I am working with now, and it seems to flow out a little more easily.

The only POV I find truly off-putting is a second person. Some writers can pull this off but it's rare.


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