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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Fox from the Present in a Henhouse of the Past

So, big news, guys, I'm writing a book.

(Aren't we all, though?)

Okay, two, at the same time, in different tenses.
Hell, I'm even writing one from a female POV and the other from a male POV.

(no, I'm not standing on my head while doing it, that would be ridiculous)

It's okay. I got this. I really do.

Until I don't.

And then it's all "oh, I got a whole lotta present tense sneaking into my past tense story and now I have to get out the "ed" gun and hunt down on the "s" endings" and that's a lot of work, because you can't just Ctrl +F to obliterate all the "s" words.

Well, you could, but then you'd have sentences that looked like "heed fingered hied shoeed laceed" and, sure Chaucer was cool and all, but let's get real most people would rather gouge their eyes out than read ye Ol' English.

(Sorry, Chaucer, no hard feelings, bro)

The only logical way to fix this is to limit yourself to working on one project at a time, and that's just never going to happen.

I, like so many writers, have writing ADD--or is it ADHD--where you're neck deep in in the trenches of one project and ohhhhh, look over on the top of that hill!! There's a shiny new project just beckoning you to come and play. And so you leave the safety of your trench, then BLAMMY the enemy--we call her our Muse--blasts you with something even better.

(You can nod, you know I'm right)

We love our Muse and our writing ADD and everything else in our bag of eccentricities, but we hate, HATE, H-A-T-E tense switching. At least I do. It is a sign of sloppy writing and sloppier editing. I am forever seeing it in books on the self and in self-pubbed material.

(this is my BIGGEST pet peeve while reading)

Tense switching is probably one of the lesser offenses when you compare it to plot holes and continuity issues and flat characters, but if you cannot keep in tense, maybe you shouldn't have a plot to have holes in. Or a magic system filled with continuity issues.

(I'm breaking down my soapbox now, guys)

I refuse to be guilty of tense switching, especially of the gratuitous sort I have recently been more than guilty of. I'm off to evict the foxes from my henhouse and keep them segregated the best I can. And for any I miss, I know my critique partners will seek them out and destroy them for me.

Happy Reading. Happier Writing.

J

3 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Wow. I'm writing two books at once also. Though I am using first person in both. Best of luck to you. When one book's fire dims, you can turn to the other one! :-)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Jodi,

How are you? Beside TENSE CRAZY... LOL.

After YEARS of tense issues, I finally have them under control. One sneaks in every now and then, but I look for them and edit as I go along so they don't pile up.

I have some news. I just got an illustration book cover published! I have two blurbs going to be published within the next few months. I discovered I have a huge talent for them and many authors have a hard time writing them... SO I have a service for it now. It's doing pretty well too!

No books yet, but at least I am having something published. I also was hired by a new publisher to design their logo! That was so unexpected. I finished the final sketch ... it was APPROVED with so much excitement they actually paid me the balance BEFORE I finished it... Now that was nice! I just need to ink it in and add a bit of color. Drop by my blog sometime and check it out. YOU'LL LOVE the book cover I illustrated. It really is cool...

Anyway.. great to see your post! I miss you!

Michael

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