I’ll Write What I Like

I was in a group discussion today about writing novels, editing etc, when someone asked if I’d solely write in first person present tense. The answer is no, I prefer to, but that doesn’t mean I shall always. It was a fair question in a reasonable, I like to think educated, discussion. Then, another party joined the group. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when a discussion snowballs and everyone wants in, but this person wasn’t contributing anything other than forcing their opinions on me.

“Did you know that first person present tense is rated as the least favoured writing tense by readers? they said.

No, I did not. (I will research the truth in that a little later for my own interest.) Joining in a discussion that you weren’t originally a part of with a negative is always disgruntling to me.

“I can’t stand reading anything in first person present tense. If I see that a book is written in first person present tense,  I won’t even read the second sentence. It feels lazy to me.”

Okay, how does this help our discussion. Why does it feel lazy? What is it that irks you so much about it? Valid arguments require valid reasoning. You’re allowed an opinion, but I’m allowed a reason, right?

My reply, “I enjoy being in the MC’s head, and I definitely wouldn’t call it lazy writing. There are pros and cons to writing in any tense or POV. First person present tense is restrictive to time manipulation, and progressing the story whilst keeping it interesting is quite a feat.

“I just can’t help but think that it’s self-absorbed. It’s like the author is the MC and merely acting out their own fantasies.”

Okay, don’t all writers do that to an extent? There is a little piece of me in every character I create- villain, protagonist, dog.

My reply, “I disagree. I love reading narratives in first person present tense, and I think that’s why I naturally write that way too. Each writer has their own style, and each reader has their own taste. To devalue one is pointless because for every person that says they hate a book, there is another who loves it.

“Yes, but like I said, you write in the least favoured writing tense and POV,” they add.

“And?”

“And if you switch to, let’s say, third person past tense, you’d access a bigger target audience.”

“Perhaps, but why would I do that?”

“To make more money.”

Bingo. Now, that is why I’m a writer, and you are not, good sir. I write for the love not the money. I love what I write, and although you may not, there are others who do. (That being said, this guy hasn’t even read my book.)

My reply, “When did we start talking about money?”

BOOM!


All Gifs have been sourced from GIPHY.

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “I’ll Write What I Like

  1. I love that post! You are completely right. I prefer writing in third person but that is because I find first difficult to me. I love reading in all tenses, as I love the written word.
    I don’t believe it is not favoured but cannot be 100%. To not read because of a certain style seems alien to me. If the story is engaging it should not matter, but every one has their own preference. For me, having that attitude is way too restrictive and you could miss out on so much. Not surprisingly, I’m with you on this! Thank you for an interesting post and love how you ended it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is very restrictive- nicely put! I read any tense and POV, and if it’s done well I quickly go blind to it and just enjoy the story.

      I laughed out loud when he said about the money. If I did it for money, I’d have jacked it in long ago… still broke haha.

      And thank you. If I didn’t feel that shouting, ‘BOOM’ would have undermined my argument, I definitely would have done 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Brilliantly put! I used to be told all the time that writing wasn’t a career, that I would have to come down to reality and realize that being author is not a viable option for living. My response to that was always, if I can’t live and breath what empassions me, why live at all? I write because it’s in my blood, because I find happiness in the words. Writing is a subjective art form, people will always find reasons to criticize. You have to believe in what you write and find the courage to share it with those who can appreciate the same 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, I too was told that writing was a pipe dream. I agree with people when they say not to give up the day job, but we’ve got to try and make a career out of our passions.

    We can’t please everyone, but I think it’s narrow minded to tell someone to change their writing style for the sake of money.

    Haters gonna hate haha

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How can writing in first person present tense possibly be lazy? It doesn’t make the process of writing any easier or faster now, does it? You’re not writing from your POV, you still need to know your characters just as well as you would in any tense or POV.

    I love writing in first person but am not used to writing in the present tense. I have however read a couple of things using present tense (including your book) and found it quite exciting because the actions seem more immediate, more like they are happening now. There’s a whole different layer of excitement that comes with it. Who cares which tense would make more money? The moment you stop writing for yourself you’ve lost. What’s the point if you no longer write for yourself?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly.

      It’s more natural for me to write in first person, and I admire those who can write multiple POV’s because I find that difficult. Every style has its own pros and cons.

      I like the immediacy of writing in present tense, but I would never disregard a whole range of books on the writing style.

      I actually pity the man, but my argument probably fell on deaf ears.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It probably did, I know a lot of people who don’t want to accept another viewpoint as correct but their own. As much as I enjoy reading in the present tense – if done well – I haven’t tried writing it myself and don’t think I could pull it off. Multiple POV’s feel more natural to me but I have wondered about trying it! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. There have been times when I’ve thought about switching my currently-under-construction sci-fi trilogy from first-person present tense to third-person past tense because I felt like it would maybe be easier to write (I’m not completely sure about that though). But every time I read through stuff I’ve written, I notice that a lot of the humor comes from the thoughts of my protagonist, Kara. So if I switched over, I would lose so much of the flavor of my trilogy that it would become flat and probably unrecognizable. Kara, or more specifically, what Kara’s thinking and how she’s internally reacting to everything around her, is what holds the story together. Told any other way, it wouldn’t work and just wouldn’t be what it is.

    And by the way, I’m not saying this because I’m responding defensively toward someone saying that the way I write is lazy. In fact, in the second book, I make an accusation toward myself, through Kara, that the sequel to the first book is lazily written.

    So… yeah, I’m lazy. I would agree with that. I don’t, however, agree that writing in first-person present tense is lazy. It’s certainly been quite a challenge.

    And by the way again, if I wanted to make money, I’d write a book called Secrets To Winning the Lottery and then sell it to people who think they could actually win the lottery if they just knew the secrets. You know, because it’s the people buying ‘Get Rich Quick’ books who make the writers of those books get rich quick. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. A lot of the emotion in my book stems from my MC’s relationships, so being in her head really helps. I wouldn’t say she is hilarious, but she appreciates hilarity 😉

      The immediacy in high action chapters works better for me too. I don’t plan, so it’s popping into my head there and then, and that translates well to written words for me.

      Let’s fly the flag for first person present tense writers everywhere! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s