Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Way We Are: POV and Tense and Polls, Oh, My!

Big thanks to Sara Bulla at Live to Write for the Versatile Blogger award and sweet words. I love it! And a big thank you to Kelley Lynn at Between the Bookends for the Versatile Blogger and the Kreative Blogger awards. You girls rock my world!

And now, onto a fun poll. Just for curiosity's sake. People tend to have some pretty strong feelings about what POV and tense they write in. I'm curious as to what those are! So if you don't mind taking this handy dandy poll, we can all get a glimpse into what everyone's writing. It's like research. It'll be helpful to.... Okay, it may only be helpful in sating our curiosity. It's not like it'll change what we write or anything. :)




Feel free to elaborate in the comments!

I'll elaborate here. My current WIP is first person. Not that I have anything against third person! I quite like writing third, too. This one just demanded first. And I write past tense. Why? Because a) it feels natural and b) I'm fairly certain I couldn't pull off present tense well. Plus, I write for kids ages 8-13, and they don't embrace present tense the way the YA crowd does.

What about you?

39 comments:

Cherie Reich said...

I've been writing in 1st POV for my last two novels, and it seems to work better, especially for YA. Most of my short stories are in 3rd POV. I do prefer past tense too. It does come more naturally to me. It's kinda funny that lately I've noticed my brain changes present tense novels into past tense a lot of the time too. Weird.

Tara Tyler said...

current techno thriller in past third pov, i like showing diff perspectives, but not too many...
next wip is mg fantasy & i'm using present 1st... i like both! depends on story

JeffO said...

First tends to flow a little easier from me, and I really like the immediacy it brings. The MS that I'm about to start revising is in first. The new WiP I just started on is third (it's hard thinking of it as a WiP).

Amanda Olivieri said...

My WIP is in first person, present tense. I usually write in past tense but for this particular story, present just seemed right :)

Leigh Ann said...

My first MS was in third past. I made the decision like, well, like it was a decision to be made. I read some blog posts about it and decided it was "better" to write in third past.

Then the SNI for MS #2 came along and I started writing. That's when I realized that, at least for me, it's not a CHOICE, but a FEELING. Each set of characters and each story demands its own PoV.

MS #3 is a little sticky. I'm feeling first present, but worried that's just because that's where my head is with #2. But #3 might demand something different.

Great questions!

Theresa said...

I have two WIP's right now, one is in 1st person and the other third. The one in first person is present tense and the one in third person is in past tense. It's confusing when I go from one to the other. I always have to get myself back in the right mindset.

Ruth Josse said...

I really enjoy writing in first person but it all depends on the story. If it demands third, then third it shall be.

Melanie Fowler said...

IN my story I have four main characters, so I do thrid person, limited, and give them each chapters to display their characteristics. It's fun.

Patti said...

My current wip is a combination of 3rd and 1st. So we'll see how that goes.

Angela Brown said...

I've recently embraced writing in first person. I have one WiP where I'm trying something different so I'll have to see how it works.

Tracey J said...

All three of my recent novels have been in first person present.

Tonja said...

I like to write in the same tense and POV that I would use if I were telling a story out loud (aloud, whatever). 3rd person past tense feels comfortable.

Jessie Humphries said...

One day I think I would like to try present tense or even third person, but it doesnt come naturally to me. So we shall see.

J. A. Bennett said...

My last novel was in first person present tense, and though I enjoyed writing that way I found I'm actually better at third person past, so now that's how I write :)

Angela Cothran said...

After that poll I thought I might need to take a risk and do a 2nd person future tense story.

Joshua said...

Just the thought of writing in second person scares me!!!

Maggie said...

First person present tense feels so YA to me. (And that's great) but I'm not a huge YA writer. That's why I usually go with third, past. HOWEVER, my only pubbed novel is first person, past (and YA, haha).

Emily R. King said...

I've never tackled second POV or future tense, but I do play around with present and past tense and with first and third POV.

Laura Josephsen said...

This was tricky. I've written a lot of first person and third person, and I voted that first person is my favorite--but it really depends on the story. I love both equally. I just write in whatever way the story needs.

I have found that when writing third person, I like using limited points of view--jumping between too many characters, or jumping randomly to omniscient when reading, pulls me out of the story a bit. When my co-author and I write our fantasy series, we always have three POV in each novel, and that's plenty for me.

My current WIP is third person POV, and has two POV. One character gets the first half of the book, the other character gets the second half.

(And I write past tense. I tried present once, and it just didn't fit the voice as well.)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Cherie-- First person definitely works well with YA. I love that you change the present tense ones over to past while you read them. Weird, maybe, but also kinda cool.

Tara-- Ooo! Present first in an MG! That makes me all kinds of excited! You'll have to let me know how it goes.

JeffO-- I like the immediacy it brings, too.

Amanda-- I think that's the key right there- finding what works best for that story.

Leigh Ann-- Exactly! It's not a CHOICE, but a FEELING! I FEEL the same way. :) And I'm excited to hear about book #3!

Theresa-- I bet that's confusing! Your switching between total opposites! Good on you for being able to pull it off.

Ruth-- Good attitude. That's definitely the way it should be. :)

Melanie-- I did a story similar, to! It was three main characters, though. I loved having a chance to get into each of their heads so much! That's one thing I really miss about first person with only one POV character.

Patti-- Wow! Impressive!

Angela-- Nice! Best of luck with it!

Tracey-- That's such a hard one to do, imo. It must come very natural to you if you've done it with three books. Kudos to you!

Tonja-- Ooo! I like that way of figuring out what to do!

Jessie-- One day, I think I might just play around with it just to see what happens. :) Maybe I'll even write a kissing scene while I'm at it. ;)

J.A.-- How you write best should definitely be one of the highest deciding factors! I tried to write a third person limited after a first person, and it was SO HARD.

Angela-- Hahahaha! You should definitely do it. Flash fiction style, posted on your blog. :D

Joshua-- As it should. ;)

Maggie-- You're right-- YA has definitely dominated the market on that one! My MG is first, but past tense.

Emily-- It's probably a good thing you've never tackled second POV or future tense. :D I love that you try them all out! I've yet to try first present.

Laura-- Whatever the story needs is so important! Especially if you can write both well. I did a three-POV once and loved it! And that's so cool that you split the book in half for POV characters. So fascinating! I'd love to see how that turned out.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I would really love to write 1st person present tense, but I don't think I'm there yet. I truly admire people who can pull this off flawlessly because I think it is very hard.

Stacy Henrie said...

I've written one (uncompleted) manuscript that was first person POV and thought it was much harder to write than the others I've done in third. :)

Jillian said...

Great idea for a poll - the results should be interesting! Though I have to admit that I've only answered the first question so far, because while my current WIP is third person past, I'm equally attached to first person present. It really all depends on the story, as other people have mentioned. I don't think I've ever done first person past or third person present though. Hmmm.

Carrie Butler said...

I write first person/past tense, too! (Though, I'm not opposed to adding third POV chapters in subsequent books--you know, when the storyline gets too complex to stay in first.) Great post! :)

Nick Wilford said...

Both my novels are in past tense/3rd person. Just seems natural. I have written some short stories in 1st person past, though - as the protagonist's transformation is obviously very compressed, it seemed easier coming from the "horse's mouth".

Neat poll! BTW, who writes in future tense?! Can't quite get my head round the idea!

Leigh Covington said...

Mine is in 1st person past tense. Very fun. I like writing 3rd person though too. It's great. Fun polls. I'm going to have to try twiigs for my next one! Love it!

Rebecca Belliston said...

Love the polls. Very interesting. I've always done third person past. Maybe some day I'll branch out. :)

Susan Oloier said...

I've dabbled some with third person and present tense. But I really prefer first person, past tense. I like the polls!

The Golden Eagle said...

My current project is in third person, past tense. I usually have trouble with voice in first person.

I want to try second person sometime--I've enjoyed the few books I've read in it, and it seems like it would be fun. :)

Adam Heine said...

Re: POV. I prefer third because then I can use multiple POV characters more easily. But my only published story is in first, so...

Re: tense. I write past, mostly because I have yet to see a compelling reason to put my brain through the contortions that would be required to write in present tense. I've read both and I'm fine with both, but I don't see much of a difference either.

Hannah Hounshell said...

For me first person in past tense is the way to go. Now, I've used third person before and liked it, but I have a tendency to gravitate towards first person. As for past tense...it just seems most natural to me. After all, you use past tense when you're chatting with someone you know, right? Same rules apply...for me, anyway :)

Sorry if that didn't make sense. Work has kind of fried my brain and I'm in desperate need of sleep as usual, lol.

tfwalsh said...

Interesting results... It's interesting that more and more people like present tense.. that's what I'm writing right now:)

Imogen said...

I was torn as to how to answer your poll, because I'm currently working on two project, and each has it's own point of view and tense.

Project one is historical, and is third person past tense, which felt right for a Regency period story.

Project two is fantasy/adventure and is first person present tense, to make things seem more immediate.

I like using first person best, but often I find that it's easier to write third person. One day I'll master first person though. One day...

Lan said...

I have been struggling with this very same question for a while now! I'm thinking of making it a topic of one of my Writer's Corner discussions. I know that first person past tense is a very popular form of writing but I find it so difficult to do for some reason. My NaNoWriMo project was written in first person present tense and it almost wrote itself. I think maybe I have been reading too much YA!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I can't answer this poll! I'm always writing more than one thing. I use first and third person. I use present and past. I don't have a favorite, I go with what feels right for the story. So I guess I can't make up my mind? :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Tasha-- I do, too! In both the admiring and in the thinking it's hard. :)

Stacy-- I love how everyone has a "what comes naturally" and it's not always the same!

Jillian-- I'm equally attached to to different ones as well, but I haven't done much at all with present tense.

Carrie-- I love first past! I hadn't thought about adding other third POVs to it, though. Very interesting! I'm going to have to think about that one more. So cool!

Nick-- Um, who writes in future tense.... Probably no one. Who would want to tackle that? But more importantly, who would want to READ that?

Leigh-- Me, too! Have had tons of fun writing first past, but love third past too. And I love twiigs because you can change the color of the bars to match your blog. :D

Rebecca-- Who knows? You might find another you love even more. Or you might just find that third past is the ONLY way to go. :)

Susan-- Dabbling is good. :D I have a very soft spot in my heart for first past, too.

The Golden Eagle-- I think the only books I've read in second person were Choose Your Own Adventure books. I can't say I've seen others outside of that. If you do use second person, I'd love to hear how it goes!

Adam-- Ahh, yes. Definitely easier to use multiple POVs when you're in third. Your comment on tense made me laugh out loud. I'm right there with you.

Hannah-- Good point. That's probably why I love past tense, too.

tfwalsh-- It is interesting! Especially because it wasn't that way too long ago. Probably because it has been done SO VERY WELL lately.

Imogen-- Those are some vastly different stories and POVs. Kudos to you!!

Lan-- Wow! Almost wrote itself, huh? That's impressive! I think you may have found your perfect POV / tense combo. :)

Susanna-- Don't look at it as you not being able to make up your mind... Look at it as how versatile you are! That's seriously impressive to do that big of a range and not have a favorite.

Kitty said...

I like first person I think because I like to READ first person. I just like to know what it's like to be in the character's skin! And past tense, for sure. How, exactly, does one write in future tense? Can someone give me an example of a book written in future tense? I'm intrigued!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Kitty-- Good point! And I really like to be in the character's skin, too. As far as future tense- I'm pretty sure it's never been done. And for good reason! :)

Emily R. King said...

I came back to check out the end results of your poll. Very interesting. I guess I should brush up on my past tense skills. Still, there's no time like the present. :)