Thursday, April 23, 2020

Good morning!

For the days when you doubt the sun will come up again, here's sunrise in St. John's, Newfoundland.

taken by blog reader Alina

I've still got my head in a contract.


Aphra Pell said...

The sunrise is lovely.

If I may ask a random question of the reef denizens while Janet is ensnared in the contract net, how do people feel about past vs present tense in fiction? I used to find present tense virtually unreadable, but I find I'm slowly being beguiled by books where it is used well.

And a second question - does anyone else find an imaginary shark on their shoulder while editing?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Wow, beautiful sunrise. We are being drenched today in rain storms.

Aphra N.K. Jemisin changed my mind about lots of things - the use of second person, present tense, etc. If you can do it well, and it serves the story, do it.

And yes, always with the imaginary shark. Keep writing, revising until you get where you want to go.

As long as you stay home. For the moment.

Brenda Buchanan said...

Lovely photos of a remarkable place - thank you to Alina for starting my day off with a smile.

Amy Johnson said...

Great photos! Thanks, Alina.

Yes to the shark on the shoulder, Aphra.

Happy contract writing, Janet!

CynthiaMc said...

Beautiful sunrise!

Hate present tense. Nobody talks like that.

Wishing everyone good health.

Katja said...

I have both present tense and past tense in my published book. (Present timeline and past timeline!)

I do talk like that. And nobody has so far told me (or commented in reviews), I shouldn't talk like that. :)


Brenda said...


Claire Bobrow said...

Gorgeous photos, Alina!

Aphra, I prefer past tense. I did a little present/past photo caption contest for fun:

- The sunrise seeps into the sky and spreads like a brilliant stain above the dark hills.
- The sunrise seeped into the sky and spread like a brilliant stain above the dark hills.

My effort is pretty lame. Anyone else want to join in? Either present or past tense?

Dena Pawling said...

Those photos are lovely!

And Aphra Pell - my current MG WIP has two POV, one is third past and the other is first present. Most of my beta readers have indicated that it works for the story. So I guess it works well if it works for the story =)

nightsmusic said...

Beautiful shots! *sigh* I just want to go outside. It's still snowing here.

Aphra, I don't read present tense nor do I normally read first person. I find present tense awkward and generally not done well. I tend to agree with Cynthia in that people don't talk that way. Sorry, Katja but I don't find that here.

First person most often doesn't give me the depth of character I like. Even Gabaldon, who switches back and forth, irritates me at times when she's in first person and she's the only one in years that I've bothered with that writes that way.

BUT! All of this is just me! YMMV

Adele said...

Reading Claire's two options: first person immediately roots me in the scene emotionally, but there I am, rooted. I can't move around. I'm stuck. Past lets me wonder what comes next, what came before, what is happening in other places.

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

I prefer past tense and third person.

John Davis Frain said...

Sunrise in St. John's look worth staying up for. Thank you for that, Alina. Now, get some sleep, will ya!

Aphra, we had a member of our critique group quit because she refused to read present tense in a ms. Nobody has ever quit because they were forced to read past.

We know the norm, but who wants to be norm? So, deviate at your own peril. Just know why you're deviating. You could have the world's greatest story, but if told in second person present, you're not going to have very many readers.

Good luck with whatever you choose and keep writing.

Katja said...

Yes, John Davis Frain, yes, yes, YES, I LOVE it! "Who wants to be the norm!"

I've heard from so many 'sides' that I'm somewhat... "special" (and I think people might have used this word for a reason not to hurt me... they might have thought of awkward or weird or bizarre or unusual at least).

I don't know exactly what it is but I think I am unable to be the norm without fully understanding. One of my critique group's wise lady tells me about every second time "I can't put my finger on your writing style but I love it".

I 'applied' for a book signing at WHSmith a while ago. I think without Damn Pandemic, I would have got it cause I was told to bring 3 posters for the windows.
The manager said my book was... *she hesitated* ... quite unique. "We haven't had something like this, really."
But she didn't say no to me. So...

Thank you, John, your words make me so happy. It's okay not to be the norm, I take it. :) <3 xx

Megan V said...

Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing Alina.

Kate Larkindale said...

I used to hate reading present tense, but then I forced myself to start writing it as a way of challenging myself and now I love it. It gives an urgency and immediacy to the writing you don't get in past tense. I do find third person present challenging, but for first person narratives, some just demand to be told that way. Others are much more comfortable in past tense.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

SUCH a beautiful sunrise! I love all the reader photos, showing us places we might not be familiar with, or an unfamiliar angle on something that we do think we know.

Aphra I find that my usage of past or present tense varies by story, though is not necessarily formulaic....or is it? Now that I've said that, it seems like my near-future cyberpunk scifi, be it short story or novella, is what I am drawn VERY strongly to writing in present tense (and first person.) The novel that I'm querying is in past tense (and third person.) I think, when done well, it doesn't really matter? Once I'm absorbed in a story, I'm there for the story, and notice the stitching a little less, if at all.

Craig F said...

What a lovely and refreshing looking sunrise. We are down to only getting three hour cold fronts, then the edge of 90 degree weather settles back in.

You mean that present tense wasn't just a thing devised to make queries torment us more?

NLiu said...

Ooh, Aphra Pell the past/present tense controversy!

I wrote my current WIP in 3rd person past, then changed it to first person present. (Yes, it nearly killed me.) It was SO MUCH better in FPP. But that might have something to do with the genre. I've had people read it who say they normally hate FPP but were pleasantly surprised that they enjoyed it. So I agree with Kate Lankindale. (However, I also had people read it and their only comment was "I don't like FPP"...)

Yes to the shark on the shoulder. She gets particularly vociferous when I beta read. I have to keep sushi handy to stop everything in sight getting mercilessly chomped.

Aphra Pell said...

Thanks all. My WIP-in-editing is written in first person past (except for one nigtmare scene which deliberately wriiten in present to feel dislocated). I'm not seriously contemplating changing it, but I was interested to see what people feel about different approaches. Every now and then my brain reads sections translated into present and goes "hmmmmmm".

It was The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements that broke my aversion - two narrators, one first perspn present, one third person present, but I gobbled it down whole in a single sitting.

Re. shoulder sharks - I spent the best part of 45 mins adjusting the two opening sentences of chapter 3 last night because my shoulder shark wasn't satisfied with the rhythm and balance. Editing is going to be slooooooooow.