Monday, 30 June 2008

Hmmmm

I'm considering rewriting novel #2 in first person present tense (it's currently first person past tense).

There's no REAL reason to do it it's just I've read a few 1st person present tense novels recently and like the way you seem to zip through the novel along with the main character. And it seems like it might be quite fun (I wrote novel #1 in first person past tense so it'd be a change, and somewhat of a challenge).

Should I stop writing novel #2 now and go back and rewrite in the first person or plod on until I'm finished and change it at the end?

Am I procrastinating? You betcha!

I had an idea for novel #3 the other night that I just LOVE! When I mentioned it to someone who said "If you love the idea for novel #3 so much why not ditch novel #2 and write 3 instead?"

Urrrgh. Confused.

I think I'd enjoy writing novel #2 more if I wrote it in first person present tense but....

Anyone written a novel/part of a novel in first person present tense? How did you find it? Anyone convert past tense to present tense? How long did it take?

9 comments:

Yvonne said...

Unfortunately I don't have any experience with rewriting into present tense, but I just wanted to say that it's a great omen if your fella liked your idea! My bf is quite picky too so when that happens I know I've hit the nail on the head. Good luck with what you decide.

KAREN said...

I was put off writing present tense when I went to the Winchester Writer's Conference a couple of years ago and the speaker, Fay Weldon, said she HATED, with a passion, books written that way and so did publishers?!?! Yet I've read and enjoyed loads of them recently, and I AM drawn to writing that way myself, so I don't know. I changed my current one and liked it better in present tense, then changed it back again to be on the safe side. Such confusion :o(

I'd probably make a start on novel 3 and see how things go!

Lily Sheehan said...

I started by novel 1st person present tense but I have noticed that somewhere along the line (can't say where as my work is so jumbled) i seem to have switched to third person. Nightmare. I think I prefer it third person now anyway.

AW said...

Can't really help I'm afraid but I do understand your confusion with your boyf suggesting you leave book 2 behind and continue with book 3. I have bits of my book 2 written and a good chunk of Book 3 written also. I can't make up my mind which one to continue with.

It's driving me mad.

Papercuts said...

My 'default' setting seems to be third person present tense which is ALMOST what you were talking about.

An online writing buddy told me once, that present tense reads like a gimmick and he wouldn't buy a novel written that way but plenty of novels are written in first present.

Carole Matthews does that regularly. The last Booker winner is written in first present.

I'm currently reading "Animal's People," which is written that way.

Of course, you were asking about chick lit/women's fiction and besides Carole Matthews, there's Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Kate Harrison...they're all at it!

Whenever I neglect to make a firm decision as to how to write, it ALWAYS comes out in third person present tense.

Some people might say it's gimmicky. Well, they can just not buy such books. But they get published, so there must be a market for them.

I once tried re-writing from third present to third past, and it was a struggle. It read okay once I was done, but the reason it was a struggle was because I was fighting against my natural writing instincts.

I say just go with what feels right as you write.

I've always submitted manuscripts in third past before, but for some reason I'm writing my latest WIP in first present and I plan to submit it that way, too.

If I ever get it finished!

Perhaps the 'bad reputation' is down to the, "your heroine can't be relating all these events AS THEY HAPPEN," argument, but I would argue that suspension of disbelief could have her THINKING about these events as they happen, so any book you write could simply be a relating of your heroine's thoughts by some unknown, unseen, mysterious narrator.

Jumbly Girl said...

I started off my novel in first person present, got into a horrible muddle and changed it to first person past, now its third person past (with an uninvited guest who interjects in first person present). I think it works but we'll have to see.

When I changed from mostly present to past I went back and changed everything frrom the beginning, and that convinced me I was doing the right thing as it all made much more sense.

I think first person present can be a difficult one to carry off (I kept tripping up over stuff linguistically) but when it works it's great and if it suits the pace of your story then go for it

Fiona said...

I loved writing in first person present and I think it will become more popular. A lot of older writers do hate it however - and some younger ones too.

'I Don't Know How She Does It'was written in the first person present and sold massively both here and in the rest of the world.

Try one page of your novel written in three different ways. Read it out to yourself and others. Send it to me although what do I know, I've never sold even a short story. Be a willing reader though if you do the same for me?

Calistro said...

Yvonne - It is VERY unusual for the boyfriend to like my ideas so it does feel quite positive. So tempted to ditch novel #2 and work on the idea for novel #3 instead but I think I should plod on. I'm a finisher!

Karen - Oooh, that's interesting (and also slightly scary to know!). Maybe I should stick with first person past tense (although I have had one agent tell me she didn't like novels written in the first person but each to their own, you can't please everyone!)

Lily - Funny you should say that. I was writing in 1st person past and switched to 1st person present for a few pages before I realised what I was doing! My fault for reading Sophie Kinsella at the time (she loves 1st person present).

AW - I think I'm going to plod on with book #2 unless I grind to a halt but I'm so excited about book 3! (Although a big part of me thinks "Am I going to find out someone else has come up with this idea too!" I'm cursed I tell ya!)

Papercuts - I'm not sure I've read any third person present novels. Short stories, yes, but not novels. You're right in that you should write in the way that comes naturally.

Jumbly - Interesting! I do wonder if it's easier done than said. Some authors make 1st person present sound easy but I'm sure it's not!

Fiona - that's a really, really good idea. Thank you. And also for the offer to read some. I'll definitely take you up on that offer (and to read some of yours too). I'll let you know when I've rewritten in a different tense okay?

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