The past few days have gone by in a blur. Getting ready for the new school year and editing my current manuscript for a fifth and final time has kept me too busy. So, when I noticed that I hadn't posted since last Wednesday, well, it took me by surprise. Time not only flies when you are having fun, it obviously does that when you're really, really busy, too! Okay, now that I am done making excuses, let's get down to serious business....writing.
Today I thought I'd write about use of verb tense and POV. What works best and in what situation? In my opinion -- and it's often been stated -- that if you use the first person POV and the present tense, the reader has a more intimate connection with what the narrator is feeling, experiencing. Compare for yourself:
I enter the room and see the crowd. I want to run away, the nervousness I feel overwhelms me. I notice him standing apart from the others. He smiles at me; I blush, but manage a quiet response.
"Hello," I say, and then in sudden panic turn to find the nearest door.
Or, how about...
I entered the room and saw the crowd. I wanted to run away, the nervousness I felt overwhelmed me. I noticed him standing apart from the others. He smiled at me; I blushed, but managed a quiet response.
"Hello," I said, and then in sudden panic turned to find the nearest door.
Granted, it is a slight difference, maybe not noticeable to some. I feel the present tense gives the reader the sense of living that character's experience, right at that moment, rather like virtual reality.
Or we can play with this and change it to the third person POV and past tense.
She entered the room and saw the crowd. She wanted to run away, the nervousness she felt overwhelmed her. She noticed him standing apart from the others. He smiled at her; she blushed but managed a quiet response.
"Hello," she said, and then in sudden panic turned to find the nearest door.
So, what do you think? Do you notice or feel any difference? Which do you like better? When you write, which POV and verb tense do you prefer or find easiest to write in? Give me your opinion.
And now I'd like to experiment around a bit with the next writing prompt. I will write it in the first person POV, present tense, but when you write your story, you can decide which POV and tense to use. And if several respond, it should be interesting to see the results!
Okay, here goes....
I walk into the darkened room, my heart pounding. The fear overcomes me; I think I am drowning. Reluctant to move, my steps are cautious. I want this to be over, to find what I came for and go home....