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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 5, '15, 8:10 pm 
The bane of my writing skills is passive voice. Editors complain about it. I still use it.

I swear, if I actually get a book published, the second book I ever write will have six pages completely blank save for perfectly-centered "(FIGHT CONTINUES)", will take place simultaneously before/after the first book, and chapters will be labeled "Chapter One," "Chapter Two," "Supplement to Chapter Three," "Chapter Four and Five," "Chapter Six and a Half-ish," "Chapter Seven and Some More of Six," "Chapter Nine (Because I Swore There Wouldn't Be a Chapter Eight)," and "Pre-Epilogue."


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 6, '15, 4:18 am 
Bragatyr wrote:I thought it was interesting that when I Googled present tense I discovered numerous articles bemoaning just how omnipresent it had become. One in particular was suggesting that it's a real bane in modern writing and that students have even become convinced that it's the only "proper" way to write in the modern era, and that past tense is a thing of the 19th century (which, just, wow).


I've seen it mentioned a few times in different sources that allegedly the popularity of The Hunger Games is to "blame" for writers now wanting to do all present tense, all the time. Whether or not that's actually the case, meh, who knows. I will say, though, that I think THG is one of those stories that did benefit from the use of present tense, as it really enhanced the action in certain scenes and built up the "oh no, what's going to happen next?!?" tension. I can't imagine it being written in past tense.

For what it's worth, I read the first book of the Divergent series, which has been compared to THG a lot, and didn't bother with the rest. Honestly, I don't remember if it was written in past or present tense, but without looking it up, I'm about 99% sure it was present tense. One of the reasons I didn't continue reading was that to me, all other plot and character comparisons aside, the quality of the writing simply wasn't at the same level as THG. Moral of the story? Write however you want, just as long as you do it well. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 8, '15, 9:04 am 
I've never ever used present tense, and I'd feel pretty awkward in trying to use it. Past tense just seems more natural to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 8, '15, 9:06 pm 
I'm reading all this and my head spins. I have never really paid any attention to verb tenses, especially when I write in french. English has how many tenses again? There are 26 in French, it's craaaazy. I just write what seems right and whatever happens, happens.

Then again I don't have any real publishing project.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 9, '15, 2:12 am 
I don't think there's a consensus on how many verb tenses there are in English. Here's a forum discussion on the subject:

http://english.stackexchange.com/questi ... in-english

If you keep scrolling down, there is a handy chart on verb tense.

In English fiction, you really shouldn't write in anything but past tense, unless you have a good reason (the actual games and battles in The Hunger Games trilogy work oh so well in present tense. The rest of the novels, not so much) and you can write well (as A4 points out) in that tense.

As far as narrative point of view, I prefer third person. I don't mind first person, but very few writers write believably in first person; it can be the mark of an amateur writer. Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, is a good example of a novel written effectively in first person. Nick never knows more than he should, he doesn't get into the heads of the other characters, he stays "in character" (i.e. he sounds like someone from his era, at his age, and in his social class), and he has more of a personality than a neutral, omniscient narrator, but without being overly emotional or biased.


Last edited by Tanith on Mon Feb 9, '15, 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 9, '15, 2:30 am 
Tanith wrote:Nick never knows more than he should, he doesn't get into the heads of the other characters, he stays "in character" (i.e. he sounds like someone from his era, at his age, and in his social class), and he has more of a personality than a neutral, omniscient narrator, but without being overly emotional or biased.


This is exactly what I have been trying to do while writing "The Stranger". I think I did a really neat job too.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, '15, 5:30 am 
I don't like writing in 3rd person because my 3rd person prose is painfully dull (x person did this, x person did that, ad nauseum). Its extremely clinical and dry. I hate clinical and dry.

1st person sort of lets me "cheat" and color the prose a bit better.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, '15, 2:23 pm 
Hukos wrote:I don't like writing in 3rd person because my 3rd person prose is painfully dull (x person did this, x person did that, ad nauseum). Its extremely clinical and dry. I hate clinical and dry.

1st person sort of lets me "cheat" and color the prose a bit better.


I'll also add that as a reader, I tend to have more of an emotional connection with the narrator in first person that just seems harder to accomplish with third person. (Not that it can't be done, but for me it's more of a challenge.) When I think about the books I've read that have left me doing the ugly cry by the end with the big gross pile of tissues by my side, sure enough, they're all in first person. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, '15, 4:47 pm 
Parma Ham wrote:*Ahem*

This woman is a genius.

That is all.

:)

:shy: Oh gosh, I don't know. I hope I didn't come across as a writing snob, but really, I think A4 said it best when she said to just get out there and write. Write what you (general you) like; write what comes naturally to you. Just get it on paper, on the screen, whatever. The editing can come later.

Hukos, if someone is writing nothing but "he did this; she did that," they're already losing. That's all tell and no show. But, there are ways to "cheat" in any narrative viewpoint. It's called "psychic distance":

http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitcho ... se-it.html

Just something to think about. Obviously, however, writing in first person will always be (or should always be) psychically up close and personal.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, '15, 10:07 am 
Tanith wrote:
Parma Ham wrote:*Ahem*

This woman is a genius.

That is all.

:)

:shy: Oh gosh, I don't know. I hope I didn't come across as a writing snob, but really, I think A4 said it best when she said to just get out there and write. Write what you (general you) like; write what comes naturally to you. Just get it on paper, on the screen, whatever. The editing can come later.

Hukos, if someone is writing nothing but "he did this; she did that," they're already losing. That's all tell and no show. But, there are ways to "cheat" in any narrative viewpoint. It's called "psychic distance":

http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitcho ... se-it.html

Just something to think about. Obviously, however, writing in first person will always be (or should always be) psychically up close and personal.


Oh I agree, that kind of writing is boring. I think it's because in my own nature, I'm very detached and reserved and fairly impersonal, which reflects on my 3rd person. Getting inside a completely different person's head though, is a different manner and lets me write differently. I can much more easily showcase what a person is thinking and feeling that way, and I really struggle with anything other than the most bland writing possible.

Probably some kind of weird psychological quirk.


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