Jump to content
DarkBishop

Verb Tense

Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, Thorn Wilde said:

There are different kinds of third person, though. You've got your third person omnipotent where you head-hop around, but you also have limited third person, where you see a given story, or at least a given scene in the story, though the eyes of one character. Most of my third person stories are limited third person. I'm only ever inside the head of one character at a time, and I don't think I've ever written one with more than two main characters that switch between scenes. 

This is a very good aspect of the third person narrative.  You as the writer get to decide from what perspective the readers experience the story.  In my first story I deliberately kept one of the main character's thoughts and feelings under wraps through half the book before they got to experience a moment of seeing things through his eyes.  I felt it made the moment deeper and more personal, especially after experiencing years of memories from one vantage point.  I think that's one of the better tools in third person writing.  You can hold back certain elements of the story for later when you can bring it out at the right time for that rewarding discovery the readers get to make.

  • Like 3
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

Writing a novel in the third person allows the author to narrate scenes where the main character is not present. This aspect may be used to give the reader more information about what is going on in the story than the main character has himself. I find this useful and interesting in building the whole picture. It can generate a feeling in the reader of: "Why can't he see what's going on?" I'm sure that you might be able to abuse third person narrative, but it has yet to occur to me how. The argument of an author abusing their role of narrator might equally be applied to having your characters not always telling the truth. This is another aspect that can help build a story, posing the question in the reader's mind: "Who is lying to whom?" Guess I'm fond of intrigue and diversion!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

The English Patient by Michael Ondaajatje was written in both Present and Past tense. Live events in the Italian villa were written in the present tense; and when one of the characters was having a flashback to a previous memory or event, it was written in the past tense.

When I read the book for the second time, I was too young to understand how complex the story and narration is. I read it when I was 14 and reread it out of boredom while waiting for a friend at a coffee shop. My second read-through required slow and careful attention to rhythm. I got a sense that every word was straining and bursting with every meaning. The physical descriptions were sensuous and very intimate, and Ondaajatje's gift for using well-timed silences and ellipses to speak volumes was in candour to his tense structure that everything, in short, works. 

I have no qualms with books or stories written in the present tense. There just has to be a sense of reason and rhyme to the way it was written. 

 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
11 hours ago, LJCC said:

The English Patient by Michael Ondaajatje was written in both Present and Past tense. Live events in the Italian villa were written in the present tense; and when one of the characters was having a flashback to a previous memory or event, it was written in the past tense.

When I read the book for the second time, I was too young to understand how complex the story and narration is. I read it when I was 14 and reread it out of boredom while waiting for a friend at a coffee shop. My second read-through required slow and careful attention to rhythm. I got a sense that every word was straining and bursting with every meaning. The physical descriptions were sensuous and very intimate, and Ondaajatje's gift for using well-timed silences and ellipses to speak volumes was in candour to his tense structure that everything, in short, works. 

I have no qualms with books or stories written in the present tense. There just has to be a sense of reason and rhyme to the way it was written. 

 

 

 

That goes for every aspect of writing, I think. Making conscious choices as to how you narrate something. 

Share this post


Link to post

English Grammar is a fickle and temperamental beast. I have a tumultuous relationship with it to put it lightly. Usually what I end up doing is writing out the story, then I let it sit for an hour or so before I go back and read it out loud as it is written. I usually can spot weird tense usage and other grammatical hiccups when I do that. Reading it out loud as it is written also removes your mental filter of what you think you wrote in comparison to what you actually wrote. 

Share this post


Link to post

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..