Friday, November 9, 2012

Past, Present, Future, 1st, 3rd... What's the best? It all depends!

There are long drawn out conversations on the merits of Third Person Past point of view, or First Person Present, First Person Past....  You rarely see future tense unless it's in dialogue, and I have wondered on occasion if there is a reason for that.

I think Third Person, and Past are probably the most common tenses on their own.  But that would be a guess based on what I have read.

First person is more intimate and less common, but it really works for certain stories.

Really, rather than trying to fit a mold, I personally think it is best if you find the voice of the STORY you are telling.  Maybe it needs to be told in past tense with a future person looking back, because it is the story of that character's childhood or something, and you flash forward to their adult life and what they learned "that summer by the lake" or whatever.  Or maybe it's like the Hunger Games, told first person present, so you FEEL her pain and hear her thoughts.  It is a compelling point of view, and I know it affected me deeply, reading her emotional moments, and knowing how she was trying to hide them.

But that isn't for every story either.

There is no "one best" point of view.  If you want to know the most common point of view for the genre you are working on, google is your very best friend.  There are all kinds of studies out there showing what works for that genre and why.

So, don't worry so much.  Just write your story the way it wants to be written.  If you decide you hate it later, you can change it later in editing.  But write it the way it flows the best to YOU.  You are the master and controller of the universe.  Put it under your control!

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