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Thread: S.O.S!!

  1. #1
    zhi wong
    Guest

    S.O.S!!

    Currently I'm working on a story.But it doesn't have a third person's point of view. The only person narrating the story is the main character.I'm not sure if I should use present-tense or past-tense.Which?

    Can someone tell me how to know when the main character is 'over talking' to he/herself.



  2. #2
    zhi wong
    Guest

    Re: S.O.S!!

    Correction him/herself

  3. #3
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: S.O.S!!

    I like past tense for first person because it helps segregate the story from the narrator. Though you can use present tense successfully, it's much easier for internal monoloques (I assume that's what you mean by "over talking") to run amok.

  4. #4
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: S.O.S!!

    I agree with John about past tense usually being the best option. (I've actually rewritten an entire novel, from present-tense to past-tense, because as I read it, I found myself slipping and wanting to read it in past tense. Read much better in past-tense. Felt right.)

    But be aware that the choice is somewhat huge, seeing as the difference in style is dramatic.

    I was gonna try to give you an example, but I'm not so sure I would be able to state it clearly, so I'll leave it to you, or perhaps to someone else (I nominate John - seems on top of things) to hook one up.

  5. #5
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: S.O.S!!

    Take a look at this chunk from Brandon Cleveland’s thread:

    “Welcome, Citizen,” the beautiful woman in the window of the train says.

    You know, I don’t know if they all just say ‘citizen’ for an all engrossing word, or if it’s because that’s my name. My dad was super obsessed over the movie Citizen Kane, some five hundred-year-old flick – a classic in his mind; a stupid ****ing name in mine. But I suppose that is his way of making me remember him; it had been almost twenty years since he offed himself.

    I suppose I’m drifting, thinking about things that have no bearing on anything; anyway, for a two-dimensional artificial intelligence representation, and after the type of tail I’ve had no choice but to get used to in the Outback, she is most certainly a sight for sore eyes.

    The cab begins emptying out and I watch as people push each other in a frenzy to make it off the train first, as if some marvelous prize awaits them upon their exit; there isn’t. These folks can’t be anything other than tourists who came to Philadelphia to go sight-seeing, take memory stills of what are certain to be forgettable moments, and depending on where they’re from, try some original extra-terrestrial cuisine. Just looking at them, they are all so excited, laughing with one another, discussing what landmarks they plan to visit first and what drugs they plan to experiment with while doing so. Little do they know that once they get a taste of the real Philadelphia – not that bull**** they advertise on the feeds – they'll be beating the doors trying to get back on and go home to wherever the @!#$ they came from.



    That’s a whole lot of nothing that barely advances the story at all. It’s just a self-absorbed man commenting on himself and what he thinks about what he sees. Present tense narration encourages that kind of empty writing. It’s very few writers I’ve seen that possess the discipline of mind to pull it off. If I were to re-write it in past tense, it would read something like this:

    “Welcome, Citizen,” said the holographic image of a woman on the train. For a manipulation of light particles, she looked damn hot. I closed my mouth and shook my head. I’ve stayed in the Outback way too long, I thought.

    As the cab emptied, I watched the people push to get off the train like cattle heading for the high grass. I was in no hurry.

    The reader can get the narrator’s name later in the story.

  6. #6
    zhi wong
    Guest

    Re: S.O.S!!

    Those were some good advice.I'll bear it in mind.Thank you.

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