When Writing is In-Tense… #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

Woman writing on notepad in coffee shop, stock photo

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Lyra Parish’s blog, thanks for joining me!

This week we’re talking about craft. How we decide what tense and point of view to use, and whether we have written a book that breaks all the rules.

I never used to notice tense or point of view until I became a writer. As a reader I didn’t care less about the mechanics of the writing, as long as it was a good story, with good characters, and a plot that kept me hooked. Any more information than that, and it was like looking behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain, and discovering how mundane the crafting of a story can be. But when I started writing stories, my eyes were opened to how many choices a writer has to make about how their story is formed, and how these choices can influence the reader’s perception. As Stephen King so wisely said in his memoir, ‘On Writing’, “you must not come lightly to the blank page.”

When I first started reading romance books (just after papyrus was invented), many of them shared the same basic framework — written in third person, with both the hero and heroine’s point of view, and always in the past tense. Of course the occasional book would be written in first person, but often those would veer more into the Women’s Fiction genre, with more emphasis on the heroine’s journey, and less on her budding romance with the hero.

Nowadays, though, there are so many choices in how to approach the story. There are books in first or third person, in present or past tense, and the choice of whether to show one or both points of view can depend upon the story. I love the diversity this offers both reader and writer, and I myself have written in different styles. Fix You is more traditional, written in third-person past, with both Richard and Hanna’s point of view. The three books in the Love in London series are different — they’re written in first person present, giving an immediacy to the heroine’s journey, and a more intimate viewpoint of the budding romance between her and the hero.

When I wrote fan fiction, I liked to push the boundaries, and have written in third person present (not a combination you see in books very often) and even had an attempt in writing in second-person present. For those who haven’t had the joy of second-person, take a look here. All I can say is that by the time I’d finished writing, it somehow morphed into first person. Probably a good thing not many books are written in second!

While I don’t really have a preference on tense or viewpoint, recently I’ve found myself veering more into third person than first. For some reason I’ve found it suits the story better, and allows me to give a fullness and weight to the plot that first person wouldn’t allow. I know some people say that third person is more shallow and less emotional than writing in first person, but I think that you can still fill a scene with feeling and depth regardless of the point of view. You just need to use the right words in the right order — it’s that easy, and that hard!

How about you? Do you have any preferences for tense and point of view when you’re reading (or writing a book). Let me knowing the comments.

Now let’s hop over to Jenna Da Sie’s Blog to find out how she deals with tense and pov.

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Until next time,

Carrie Pink

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Photo credits: Depositphotos & authors own.

Expanding my Horizons

image I’ve spent a lot of time gazing at the horizon this week. It’s a happy side effect of being on holiday: the ability to lie on a beach and just be. Staring at the line where the sea and the sky meet sparks an excitement inside me which seems timeless. I imagine it’s the same excitement that caught the imagination of long ago explorers, ones who looked beyond the lives they had right there and then, and imagined ‘what if…’

The funny thing about horizons is they can both limit you or offer you endless possibilities, depending on your outlook. So many people probably looked at that same line and just accepted that was where the world ended. They didn’t question, didn’t wonder, just went about their day and lived within the limits of the land.

But then there were the dreamers. The brave people who had no idea what was beyond that infinite line, but hoisted up their sails and journeyed to find out anyway. For all they knew there was a cliff drop into nothingness, or a land of monsters that swallowed them whole. In spite of the dangers that lurked just beyond their sight, their need to know outweighed any peril. Their courage outweighed their fear.

And that’s what I try to do every day. In my writing, in my parenting, in my life, I try to push myself beyond the horizon. I try to venture into new lands, knowing that I may stumble and fall. But the endless possibilities draw me still, always so much more exciting than a life that is limited. It is definitely scary, and often perilous, but the rewards are always worth the risk.

So how about you? What things lie beyond your horizons? Are you brave enough to discover them too?

Monday Musings – What a week!

every accomplishment

Wow! It’s been one of those weeks that has passed in a blur, leaving you spinning around with your mouth wide open and thinking “..what the heck?” I’d like to say I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, but it’s been such a rollercoaster of emotions that I’m not even sure how I’ve been feeling half the time. So, looking back, I’ve managed to do the following:

1. Turn 40

Yes, hard to believe (hehe), but I turned 40 last Wednesday. I tried to spend the day in bed, hiding underneath my lovely, warm duvet, but my friends were having none of it. They dragged me out, kicking and screaming, and took me to a pub for lunch. Of course, as soon as I was out I really enjoyed it and was so glad I wasn’t lying in bed anymore. But, still, I’m now out of my thirties, and I have to admit I loved every single moment of them. As long as my forties turn out just as good, I should be a happy girl.

2. Release my second book

Fix You was due to be released on my 40th birthday (because I’m crazy) but due to the lovely vagaries of Amazon, it was actually live two days earlier. Then when I checked it on my phone the text came up big. As in B.I.G. Cue hasty republishing (no less than 3 times) and staying up all night waiting for the book to go live again on Amazon so I could check it. Plus angsting over all the people who had already bought it and were wondering why the heck my writing was so large. 24 hours later it was all fixed and published, but I think I managed to get a few extra grey hairs that day!

3. Have my first paperback

Fix You is my first book that’s also been released in paperback. I can’t lie, there’s something very satisfying about holding that physical book in your hand, and seeing your name on the front cover. It made me very happy indeed. Plus I’ve already had some requests for signed copies, which makes me more happy than I can say. What a great birthday present.

So, I’ve managed to wallow, celebrate and prevaricate for the past week. I’ve given myself that time to adjust to these new things, but now it’s time to go back my office and start the writing process again. I think I’ve said before that I’m about a third of a way through a new novel, which is tentatively titled “Coming Down.” I’m really enjoying the characters and story in this book, and want to try to get it finished by April / May ready for edits and beta reading. In order to do that, I need to get my head down and work hard on the manuscript. Everything else will have to come second!

So, that’s where I am. Hope you are good too!