Thursday, June 3, 2010

Goin' With My Gut...

Or whatever you guys say.

I'm starting a new project. Well, let me back up. "Starting" isn't really the right word. I wrote a bunch of words on this project before I realized the sucktitude of it. That uncompleted MS is now sitting on my hard drive.

I started over.

I'm about 50 pages in now, and had one of my besties read it. Her feedback was FRAWESOME (freaking awesome).

But now I'm stewing, and if you've been reading here for any length of time at all, you know that this is both good and bad.

So I just have a couple of questions for you. Feel free to answer any way you want, but back yourself up!

1. First person or third? Or both...?
2. One POV or two? Or more...?
3. Past tense or present? Or both...?
4. Female MC or male? Or both...?

Oh, and if anyone could identify, very succinctly, the main motivation of my characters, I'd appreciate it. kthxbai.

So what do you think? When you sit down to write, what comes to you naturally pertaining to those four things? What do you like to see when you open a book (girl, first person, past tense?)? And why???

(And I just realized this has nothing to do with guts. Dangitall.)


Kristen said...

Those are all difficult decisions. The character usually tells me. Certain stories have to be told in 1st person I think. It all depends on the storyline and the MC... Good luck with your new WIP! I'm sure it will be made of awesome..ahem I meant FRAWESOME lol...

Kim said...

Hey Elana! Kimmy from QT here. I prefer first person - it draws you into the story. I HATE present tense - takes me out of the story! Always past tense. I just read 2 YAs with male protags in first person and loved them, so I dont think male or female makes the difference as long as they sound male or female. As to the motivation? Tell us what they're doing and we can tell you why! :)

Jamie Grey said...

Ohhhh. I'm having this same problem myself. My mc is female, it's past tense, but I just can't decide if I want to do first person or third. Usually I get a good sense right away, but with this one I'm just stuck. I'm going to write it in third I guess and see how it works. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm mostly a first person, past tense, male POV writer. But I have written in 3rd person past tense both single VP and multi VP.

I like reading a variety of VPs and tenses and a bunch of non-fiction too.

Katie Ganshert said...

Oddly enough, my natural inclination is to write in first-person. But I usually change it to third along the way, which ends up working to my advantage as it gives me a deeeper point of view.

I'm usuaally a two or three person POV type of gal. The hero. The heroine. And usually another important character.

I write in past tense, but enjoy novels that are in present too. Give me a good story and I can forgive everything else. (Hey, I like that line...I'm going to tweet it)

Maria Zannini said...

I know first person seems to be the 'in' thing, but I've never been overly fond of it.

I prefer third, with multiple povs.

The MC depends on the story. Tense also depends on the story. least for mine. Good luck!

MeganRebekah said...

1st person, past tense, female MC, but also a POV from a male.

As for motivation... I still struggle with that sometimes myself, so I've got nothing to offer.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I think firstly you need to ask yourself what you want to convey. I love first person, getting so close to a make believe entity. Yet, I wrote my current ms in third close because I wanted the freedom to move around in others' heads.

Don't know if that was of any help, but it's how my wacked-out brain sees it.

Anonymous said...

1st person if the voice of the character is oozing with personality and it's the only way you can convey it.

3rd person - if your character's voice isn't oozing with personality and you've got a great narrator's voice.

Go with 2 povs if you need to show another side of the story and it will increase tension.

present - if this is a really angsty novel that will better show the emotion and angst of what your character is going through. And if it makes sense.

past - if it's not a real angsty novel and it sounds fine in the past.

Go with male or female - the one that has the more unique perspective to tell the story.

There you go. Sounds easy, huh?

Elisa Dane said...

Hmmm, well, for me, when I write a female lead I go with first person past tense.

When my main character is male, I tend to go with third person pov, past tense. But then I throw in the female love interest's pov as well.

I have no idea why I do that, lol.

Unknown said...

Ah, yes. The audition phase. Try this and that -- but the characters will tell you what to do, in the end. Best of luck with it!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

So far I've only written in third person limited and I'm in the same story so I'll need to keep it. But lots of books, including science fiction & fantasy, are in first person, so that would work if you think it'd be better for your story. Perhaps write the first chapter both ways to see.

I tend to write from a girl's perspective because I feel more comfortable with it. I didn't grow up with brothers so worry I don't understand boys enough. If you could write from a boy main character, that might be good as there are a lot of fantasies with girl main characters. Or from one girl's & one boy's POV. That is very interesting if it's done well.

It's hard to tell you more without knowing your story. But good luck. I know you'll figure it out. From all your blogs & your query to the call book, I know you write well.

Erinn said...

Honestly it's hard to give advice without reading the story. I think the POV and tense needs to be what's best for the story.
One of my novels is written in 3rd person.
My other one is 1st person, alternating POVS with 3rd person flashbacks.

It depends on how YOU want to tell the story or how the CHARACTERS want to tell the story.

Lindsay said...

I prefer first person. I think that was because my gut told me to go with that when I was writing. So I'm biased to the first person pov, past tense.

Hannah said...

Most of the time, I move towards first person but my current ms is third person limited and past tense. I prefer past tense but I have done some in present and it usually comes naturally. I usually don't overthink it and my writing will change to what it should be. Male or Female doesn't matter to me too much anymore.

Once I named a character and halfway through my writing realized I changed his name to something else. I stuck with the latter because my Muse was tell me to.

Vicki Rocho said...

I can't get all scholarly on you and say you should use first person if blah blah blah and third person for blah blah blah.

I can say that I originally started my story in third person with the INTENT of head hopping to show some suspicious behavior.

However it was all falling flatter than a pancake (or a crepe). So I switched to first person and discovered there is a much better way for MC to discover suspicious behavior. So that's where I'm running nowadays.

You've got more experience, so I'd say (to, ahem, quote you) just go with your gut. Or, to quote the fabulous Tim Gunn...make it work.

Aubrie said...

Choosing a POV is so tough! The book I'm querying now is third person and it rotates, but the sequel is told through the great granddaughter of one of the characters in the first book, and it really should be told in first person through her eyes. You have to go with what fits your story. Good luck and congrats on the new project!

Janet Johnson said...

Natural tendency you ask?

1. third
2. two
3. past
4. either

Character's motivation?

Well, one has a perfect life, to a flaw. They are bound and determined to make something less than perfect . . . if only they weren't a perfectionist! Their determination is killing them.

Another just likes sweets. Chocolate. Hard Candy. Cookies. Donuts. You name it. And they are willing to do anything to get them: beg, borrow, steal . . . but kill? Hmmmm . . .

Okay, more seriously . . . what do I like to see? Good writing. Period. The rest doesn't matter as long as it's well written. For example, Hunger Game's present tense threw me at first (because it starts in past tense with backstory), but I got over it fast because she wrote so well.

Good luck with it!

kah said...

Hey, I was gonna ask you the same questions for my next project! lol.

They say the POV, tense, etc will come to you as you start writing. (Crap advice if you ask me, but I'm offering it anyway.)

My girl scout cookies are almost gone! :( Thanks for my awesome goodies. I loved all of it.

Kay said...

haha... this just made me think of you writing a book based around comments! Variety is good in books. I, personally, enjoy reading them all- but writing? Well, don't have the attention span to actually sit and focus on any detail.

you've got grit.

Deni Krueger said...

Whatever tells your story best. But I don't usually know for sure until I write the first draft.

Cherie Reich said...

Male or female doesn't bother me, but I always prefer past tense over present. As for 1st or 3rd POV, I think it depends upon the story. I wrote one novel last year in third only to realize that it sounds better in first. *sighs* I do think it is better to decide one way or the other before writing because the edits are a pain in the butt to fix if you change your mind.

storyqueen said...

Only the draft can tell you....but don't be afraid to try something different, even if it's not "done." Taking risks keeps the writing fresh and alive.

So, I say first AND third!


Natalie said...

I usually write in past tense, 1 point of view. MC gender changes. I'm starting a new project too and I'm toying with the idea of alternating POV (1 male and 1 female). I think it might be a fun new challenge. I hope you get the kinks worked out! If your friend thought it was awesome I bet it was. :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

I don't have a ONE WAY I like it in regards to any of those. What works best for this story? If you're up for a challenge, use 2 MCs and try a male voice (as a female).

Jennifer Walkup said...

First of all - love Frawesome. I am so stealing that word for myself

As for your other questions - ahhh, I struggle with the same. I personally like first person more than third, but as for the other questions, I've written a variety of all of those and it all depends on what your story calls for.

I know, a lame answer, but it's true!:)

Holly Hill said...

1. First - I think it's a lot easier to relate to the characters.

2. One - I just don't like multiple POV...I tend to skip chapters when I find myself in someone else's head.

3. Depends - if it's an action packed, tense story I think present. Otherwise past.

4. Either.

Linda Kage said...

Depends on the genre. In romance, I like third person, POV from at least the hero and heroine and writing in past tense.

In YA, I can handle first person or third, I think I like past tense better than present, and it doesn't really matter how many POVs I get.

Like I said, it all depends. Sorry, I'm not much help. I typically like a story for the plot and characters instead of POVs and tenses.

Stephanie McGee said...

I've never had to face these sorts of questions, really. Each project has had its own natural solution to these problems. Mainly I write in third person past tense. It's just what I'm used to and generally what the story demands. (My stories often jump between POV characters. It's easier, I think, to do so if you're in third person.)

The gender of the protagonist is determined by the story itself. Which character is the story primarily about? If there are equal parts of both a male and a female MC, go with it. If it skews one way or the other, go with it.

I know I'm really no help here, but I thought I'd offer my two cents. Third person past tense is what flows naturally for me. Multiple POVs are more interesting, too.

Candyland said...

Haha. Bless you, E. You have a goal post in mind and get sidetracked like me.
Here's what I would do if I had you're talent:
First person, Two POVs, one male MC, one female. Your frawesomeness can do anything, for sure.

And the main motivation of your characters shall be finding *something* to fulfill *something else*

Corinne said...

1. First person or third? Or both...?
I'm usually drawn to first person when it comes to writing, but will happily read either. As long as it's not omniscient. I hate head-hopping.

2. One POV or two? Or more...?
I usually prefer just one, so you can really dive deep into someone's character. That said, some stories need multiple perspectives to work.

3. Past tense or present? Or both...?
I'm happy with either, as long as it's a conscious choice by the author and not just them trying to be edgy with present tense of something. It needs to work for the story.

4. Female MC or male? Or both...?
Either, as long as women are well-represented. Sick of reading stories with female MCs where their only relationships with other women are rivalries, and sick of reading stories with male MCs where women are nothing but one-dimensional love interests.

In all cases: whatever works for the story.

When writing, I usually go with female MC, first person, past tense, single PoV, but my current WIP is in present tense, and an earlier book had multiple PoVs, women and men both. These preferences don't really tend to affect what I enjoy reading, though.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Wow, what vague questions for such a specific request, E. Okay:
1. Both, mostly first.
2. I prefer one, two is okay, more than that and you'd better have the next best book ever otherwise I'll be mad.
3. Present.
4. Whatevs, totally depends on the story.

Lindsay Smith said...

DO WHAT THE STORY NEEDS. You can make it work in any mixes of the above. And if you don't believe it, try these on for size:

-Multiple POVs, all past tense
-Main POV scenes written in first person by female MC, rest in third person

FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, Carrie Ryan and A NORTHERN LIGHT, Jennifer Donnelly
-First person
-Female MC
-Present tense

THE NAME OF THE WIND, Patrick Rothfuss
-Male MC
-First person
-Past tense

-Male MC
-Third person
-Multiple POVs
-Past tense

SHIVER, Maggie Stiefvater
-Multiple POVs
-Male and female MCs
-First person in both POVs with chapter header designating the speaker
-Past tense

They're all different, and they all work. Wonderfully. Go with what the story tells you. :3

G.~ said...

Holy crap! I am struggling with the same thing at this very moment.

It started out with a story, then these questions started to arise as I was writing. It would keep me stuck and not writing, so I decided to just keep writing and figure that out later.

The story turned out to be too long for just one book, so now it's a series, I guess, maybe...and I'm still asking myself these same questions.

It's so nice to see that I'm not alone on this confusion train and that it might possibly be a normal part of the writing process.

Although, I do know that my MC is female.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

This is funny, because normally all those questions - MC, POV, Past/Present, First/Third Person - are all made up in my mind before I even begin a story. I think I'm too OCD not to know when I start writing. :D
I can never write in present tense, and it's really hard for me to read - although, I know that's an entirely personal thing. :) I usually have more fun with first person books, but I'm more likely to read sequels if the story is third person. When I write in first person, the story usually goes fairly steadily, and I don't have block, but I don't have 'OMG THIS IS AWESOME' moments either. :D
Those are just how I relate to things though - this whole business is so subjective! Good luck on your project, whatever it turns out to be!

Carolyn V. said...

Frawesome. Okay, that's just cool!

I like:
first person
one pov
female (because I don't think much like a guy.) =D

Caroline Starr Rose said...

First or third depend on the story, I think. As to past or present, I used to hate present-tense novels...until I wrote one. ;)

What feels right for this piece??

Sarah Ahiers said...

i typically use:

3rd Person
multiple POV
Past Tense
Both Genders

Though for nano i plan on doing 1st person single POV

Christine Fonseca said...

okay - so FRAWESOME is my new fav word! As to the ??? ALREADY know what I am going to say - it completely depends on the story and I KNOW you will figure this out. Step away for a bit, get in touch with your gut (okay that just sounds weird) and go for it!

VR Barkowski said...

1-4: Good grief, woman, why are you posting this here?! These are all questions you should be asking your characters. Don't they read your fab blog? Send them a link.

LOL on motivation. Not touching that one.

When I sit down to write, the female always comes out first person, the males third. This despite the fact I have much more in common with my male protags.

In the opening paragraph, I like to see character and mood. I detest being dropped in the middle of a scene just to achieve an action open. I'm in the minority however. so ignore me. :)

Katie said...

I really like a mixture of first and third POV's. I'm reading a book right now that takes place in two different time periods, and the modern girl is written in 1st person. She's reading these manuscripts about people in the early 19th century, so those parts of the story are told in 3rd person. I have to say it's probably my favorite combo for POV's. It probably wouldn't work for every story, though.

And I like male POV better. They have less drama and aren't so nitpicky about people the way girls can be. They're way more straightforward, and I find that refreshing after being in a girl's brain my entire life. lol

Jessica Bell said...

I've got an obsession with present tense. I LOVE present tense, and it's not that common, is it? Go present tense! It's more 'intense'! ;-)

Jennie Englund said...

IF i ever write another MS, i'm going to give third-person a shot. Krista Marino of Delacorte sold me on it -- twice!

Slamdunk said...

I am experimenting with both, but for now enjoy first person. Obviously, the male point of view requires less research for me.

Erica Mitchell said...

Um their movitvation...get back to ya D: I'm not real sure on my own double scary face!
My back up to these answers are what comes the most natural
First person, 2 POV's (although in third you really get a spectrum I suppose) present tense story line but always simple past verbage usually and I like a mix of both fem/male, but the male has to be really convincing for me and not generic.

Unknown said...

Third person/past, with two povs, his and hers. I like the guy to be a MC, but it really depends on the genre. In romance, it's fine for the woman to be the MC. (these are my preferences, not any rules or anything. ;-))

If there's a bad guy/gal, it might be cool to have his/her pov as well.

Stina said...

I'm partial to the female POV, but I also love books like PERFECT CHEMISTRY which alternate between the male and female povs. My fav are 1st person and I enjoy either past or present tense. My previous projects have been in past tense, but the one I'm outlining will be in present tense. There's something about present tense that I love. Fortunately most teens can handle the tense, even if many adults are against it(no idea why).

Motivations? LOL. I'm still working on MY characters motivations.

Valerie Kemp said...

I am overwhelmingly drawn to first person POVs.

One or two POVs is good. My current WIP is two first person POVs, male and female and I can attest to how much FUN it is to switch back and forth like that when drafting and how NOT fun it is to make things line up when revising. Also, I think the number of POVs you have is always dictated by story. Are there things you need the reader to know that just one narrator can't get across?

My writing comes more naturally to me in present tense, that said I don't have a preference. I think the tenses work best with different kinds of stories. Action oriented works best in present IMHO, and more thoughtful stories work best in past - it's harder to have your character muse about things in present tense I think.

I really like boy narrators but again I'm not too picky.

As for your character's motivation, I'll leave you with two thoughts I've seen over and over again. There are (supposedly) only two motivations for everything, love and fear. And, one of my favorite quotes is "Every story is a love story."

Christina Lee said...

EEK-- not sure I can answer. I tend to write from male POV and my newest was the first time I wrote in 3rd, past (always wrote in 1st, present) and I loved it. In 3rd you can step back a little better and narrate the scene. I've tried two person POV's before but the voices have to be really distinct (an agent called me on that-sigh).

Melody said...

Eek!! I just went through this myself. Not sure if I came up with the 'right' answer myself, either. :/

If it's a book targeting girls, then please don't do first person male! That's so hard to relate to, imho. First person female is always good, first person female present never fails to be engaging, but it needs a really suspenseful story to go with it, I think.

Other than that, I can't help you.
Haha. Sorry.

I would take a look at Megan Whalen Turner's A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS if you're thinking of going both, because she jumps from third-person to first-person quite fluidly.

Patti said...

I've always done 3rd person, but my current is multiple 3rd person and my next will be 1st.

JEM said...

Ahh, good questions there. I would OF COURSE say it depends on the story, but in general...

1) If it's YA I tend to like first person, but I have a strong policy against both first and third. Switching heads is one thing, but switching views is too jarring for me. I read a book that did it and did NOT like it. The narrator ends up sounding creepy
2) I haven't read many multiple POV stories (although I've heard Linger does it very well), but I tend to get frustrated with them because the author leaves off with one narrator at a very crucial part, and it takes longer for me to remember why I care about the new narrator.
3) I prefer past (because it's more standard) unless it's really high action (like The Hunger Games). If you don't have a really compelling reason for present tense, I think it throws most people off.
4) I tend to think genders should stick to writing their own gender. Not to make a broad sweeping statement, but I've read books written by males with female leads and the don't sound authentic to me at all. On the flip side, I've written male characters that my partner-in-crime will tell me don't sound like a guy at all. So there you have it.

Hope that helps!

Shannon Messenger said...

Ooo, those are tough, and they kind of all relate to each other. I chose third person for my draft, because I wanted to control myself. I knew I had a BIG plot to tell, and I knew how much I LOVED to be inside a characters head, so I knew if I wrote it in first person my book would end up 200,000 words.

I have a female MC--which was simply the way the story came to me, and I limit everything to her POV, because in my case it really is HER story. If another character had had a vital role I might have considered adding their POV, but given the depth of my plot, that didn't really apply.

And I honestly put no thought into present/past tense. It just came out past tense.

So I'm sure other people have said it above, but it really does kind of depend on your writing voice, and also the story you're telling. Or it did for me at least.

Great post Elana--as always!

Amie McCracken said...

Ummm, certain answers depend on certain answers. If it's first person I would say only one POV and past tense either sex. If it's third person two POVs...This could go on for a while...I really usually do past tense myself, and I like to read past tense. UNLESS present tense is done really well it can be choppy and confusing.

Female or male depends on whether you can pull off a guy's thoughts without making him sound like a chick. Hard to do.

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, you guys! THANK YOU! I just spent many minutes making notes from your comments. Some things really speak to my gut, so again THANKS!!

*happy sigh* I love you guys.

T.J. said...

1. Depends on the story. I started one book as third-person and another as one. It depends on what the character wants me to do.
2. Depends on the story. I like more than one POV, which is one thing that bugged me about Harry Potter and the seven books of his whining.
3. Past tense. There is no depends here (unless you're an old granny). Present tense seems too difficult to follow.
4. Whatever. I'm not sexist on which character I'm reading/writing. My main WIP has a male MC, but I do follow a female POV for part of it.

C. Michael Fontes said...

1. Depends on the intended voice and mood of the MS. NEVER (almost never anyway) both.

2. One POV is ALWAYS safe. Two is usually okay, if done for a good reason, only done during scene breaks (chapter breaks is even safer), and has a GOOD reason (did I mention it must have a good reason?)

3. Present Tense is soooooo frowned upon in general. That doesn't mean you "can't," as Suzanne Collins has proven that you can. But if you do, know that you are adding a hurdle (a very large, ugly hurdle that not only stands tall, but also mocks you before you jump) between you and agents/editors. For this reason, I will ALWAYS use past (for now), and NEVER both (unless for good reason... notice a trend here?)

4. This is TOTALLY up to you. I know that the strong female lead is popular right now, but that doesn't mean it will be later... nor does it means that you can't do it, even if it falls from "popularity"

Tere Kirkland said...

I LURVE first person present right now. I despise third person present with the fire of a thousand suns.

I think it's all dependent on the kind of story you want to tell, the tone and mood you want to establish, who the mc is, what they need to "see" to get the plot across, etc.

I myself like to stick to first person because I feel like that's what I'm good at. But sometimes you have to try to write outside your comfort level.

I've got a mid-grade with a male mc in first person bumbling around my noggin right now, but I'm not sure I'm ready to write it. I'm not sure I ever will be. But I won't know until I let myself try.

Not sure if that answered your question... :P

Write Chick said...

My first MS is in third person close. It wasn't really comfortable for me. I have a hard time delving into my MC's head when I'm stepped away.

I'm def. more comfortable writing first person and oddly enough in present tense. It's like I get to experience it the same time the character does and the reactions seem more authentic to me.

It does depend on the story and the character and all that--but I've found that 1st/present is my comfort zone.

Lisa_Gibson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa_Gibson said...

K, first off, I'm totally stealing the word Frawesome! :)
In my current WIP I was having a terrible time with POV. Finally I decided to alternate first person pov between female mc and male secondary character. The antagonist has a few chapters that are in 3rd. All past tense because I seem to get all whopper-gilted trying to write present tense. So, thar ya have it. kthxbai (which I also <3).

Stasia said...

So love your honesty! For me, the tough call is verse or prose.

Robin M said...

I prefer third person because I can't get into a story written in first person, most of the time. Depends on how well written it is. Some writers do an excellent job writing in first person. I'll have to go back and analyze if they are using past or present tense to see if there is a difference. Just thought of that - thanks for the brain storm.

Many points of view work for me. Knowing what characters are thinking and reacting to each other.

I personally prefer past tense because the story just flows better. I haven't tried writing in present tense yet. Perhaps I should and see what happens.

Motivation for your character: Hmm! If you are writing YA, I would have to say - she wants something badly, more than her friend but doesn't want to step on her toes. However, it would be to her benefit and not her friend's. It would be harmful for her friend to 'win'. Just a thought.

Krispy said...

I prefer third person - writing in it and reading it. When first person isn't done well, it just drives me up the wall, and what if I don't like the character that much? Being that close to them makes it harder to ignore the things I don't like, whereas in third, even if I don't like the POV character, there's enough distance for me to focus on other things.

No number of POV preference. I figure if the story calls for more than 1 POV, then cool. I'm pretty much the same about male or female MC. Male or female doesn't matter so much as what the personality is like.

I generally write in past tense, but I'm okay with reading past and present. But for present tense, it has to be really well done. I shouldn't even notice that it's in present tense when I'm reading it. That's how I felt about Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty; it was present tense AND first person and I loved it.

Good luck with your new WIP! New projects are fun and exciting!

Anonymous said...

1. I love third person. First person, if not done perfectly, tend to leave me feeling annoyed with the main character, because of the close perspective.

2. One. Two can be done well, but the PoV shifts always jolt me out of the story.

3. Present. It's just my preference. :)

4. Either. I'm fine with both.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Third person.
Two or more POV.
Either on the tense.
Prefer male MC.

About Me said...

Oh the joys of starting a new project. The first draft, the high! Can't you tell I'm daydreaming here?

PJ Hoover said...

I had a ms like that last summer and I still haven't made my way back to it yet. Nothing seemed right.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've done them all, read them all and enjoyed them all.

I think the question really comes down to the project itself. Some stories beg to be told first person, present while others need the distance of past, 3rd.

Reading wise, I have no preference. If the book is good, I'll read it. Period.

Good luck figuring out what works best for you now!


Angie said...

Can't answer those for you, of course. You have to go with your own gut. I've never written anything but third person past, and don't know if I could really do anything else. My shorts have only one POV of course. My novels have many. And I mean many. Character gender depends on the story. My current novel, though, has five male POV characters and two female.

Erin Kane Spock said...

I write historical romance. Before I started writing, I was an avid reader in the genre. I used the format of several authors I liked to determine these questions. That said -
1. First person or third? Third. I could not see telling the entire story from one perspective.
2. One POV or two? I stick with one in a scene. Usually a change of scene has a change of pov. The only time I do two is when my main guy and gal are in a scene together (and event then, only once they've formed some sort of bond, emotional or physical).
3. Past tense or present? Past tense. Which sucks when it's a flashback/memory and she had had. Tense has always been my nemesis. Why do I do past tense? It seems natural with third person.
4. Female MC or male? Or both...? I consider the female my lead, but my male is a close second. The story is about her journey, but he is a big part of that and we have to know and love/lust after him as well as she does.

Erin Kane Spock said...

And the main motivation of your characters is:
A. They have to find shelter and food or they will die.
B. They are under the effects, unknowingly, of a mind altering parasite that drives them toward the sea.
C. They want to find out what goes into a Brass Monkey drink.
D. They have abandonment issues and will never trust again.

There's some motivations. Do with them what you will. Personally, I like B. It came to me out of nowhere.

Bethany Wiggins said...

1st and 3rd in one book bugs me. I'm fine with anything else, though! Good luck!

Jill Kemerer said...

For me, it's all about my genre. I write romance, so I keep it third person, past tense, with two pov's--the hero's and the heroine's. But you write YA, and edgy YA at that. I think you could do anything you want!

WritingNut said...

1. Usually first person, especially as of recent, but in the past I have written in third. It usually depends on the mood I'm in and the way the story starts flowing.

2. If it's in first person, just one POV, if in third - sometimes from two.

3. Always past tense

4. This one was my next post ;). For me, I always write from a female perspective.

And the main motivation of your characters? Why, to have their stories told by you, of course! Yes, I know, not very helpful, but hey, you asked :)

Good luck with this new project, I know you will figure it out.

Anonymous said...

You've already gotten so much good advice and from people more knowledgeable than me, I'm sure. I just wanted to throw in my personal opinion regarding tense-PAST TENSE, PLEASE! I say this with passion b/c I anticipate being a future reader. ;) I can't say I've NEVER read a book written in present tense that I liked, but I can say I've never read one where presnet tense didn't continue to be a distraction. It just seems to pull me out of the story. Mainly b/c I know it ISN't happening right now despite the verbs trying to convince me otherwise, so the whole thing just doesn't seem as believeable.

Kimberly Franklin said...

All very good questions. Usually my MCs and their POV just come to me. But every once in a while I start thinking (bad idea) "what if" and then everything spins out of control. I guess that's what I get for thinking!! :)

Anonymous said...

Ooooohhh, these are good questions, and I remember struggling with them when I started to write my first book.

I like First Person, but realized not everyone does, and I didn't want to speak for my heroine, so I did both. Her brother spoke in First Person, while his sister was Third Person. This lead to multiple POVs, but I liked that, too.

I did past tense and I'm comfortable with that, but I do know that present tense is becoming the new "thing" -- not sure about it. I think that past tense creates a coziness with the reader -- the story already happened, and you're sitting across the table from them, telling it. Just my thoughts.

Good luck and hope there's more Frawesome!!!

Alyssa Kirk said...

As a reader here are my preferences:

1) First or third or both

2) One POV but can read two if they are distinct enough - but it can be hard to shift my mind around the change - takes me out of the story.

3) Past all the way! Present, again, takes me out of the story and is harder for me to read. Teenagers I know prefer past.

4) I like a female MC and am also happy with both male and female, or male only.

Interesting note here: My brothers (and teenage guys we know) prefer male only but can do with a secondary female MC. However,having only a female MC or female as a primary doesn't interest them. They feel the story is more girly, softer, romance-over-action if a girl is the MC.
They liked the Hunger Games series(she's kick-butt!), but the "who do I pick has a love interest" aspect of her personality they saw as a stupid waffling girl thing.

Hope that helps!

Karen Lange said...

Umm, I think I prefer first person in the present. But I'm a little tired so my brain isn't functioning as speedily as normal...I do know this, the weekend is almost here. Have a good one!

Jemi Fraser said...

3rd person pov - past tense - both male & female characters. So far that's all of my stories.

Motivation? Love & revenge are my current ones - lots of fun :)

Jess of All Trades said...

My gut says...

1: Third person POV (Ha! You hesitated. Which means you really want to write it in First. were relieved, which means you just wanted validation ;)

2: Multiple. I love to see multiple situations weaving together and coming to a head.

3: Past. Or Both. Flip a coin, and base the decision not on which wins, but on your reaction.

4: Both.

Have fun.

The main motivation: Love and honor.

Ha! Sorry. I watched a Star Wars marathon recently.

Jeff King said...

1. First person or third? Or both...? = Third, just read better to me.

2. One POV or two? Or more...? = I prefer one POV, but more works well if the writer can pull it off.

3. Past tense or present? Or both...? = past tense without a doubt, again it just feels better and reads smoothly.

4. Female MC or male? Or both...? = Doesn’t matter about sex, the main character must be well rounded and brimming with life.

Lydia Kang said...

I only know how to write in first person POV! Only one. And I've always done past tense, but I may to present in my next project. And I can only do the girl MC.
That's me, in a nutshell.

Mary Gray said...

i'm the crazy minority who lives for first person present tense. Boo-yeah! Good luck!

YA Book Queen said...

First person or third? BOTH!

One POV or two? One. The more POV's, the more confusing it tends to get (unless the voices are very distinct)

Past tense/present? Both.

Female/male MC? Either one. :)

G. B. Miller said...

I'm not sure about first or third, or even second for that matter, as I experimented with all of them.

Matter of fact, it's a bit tough answering these questions because they seemed to be geared more towards YA/MG than towards what I write (adult fiction).

Having said that, the last project I completed, it was all written in the present tense (covered a six day time frame) and had exactly 2 POV's, first person.

I'm not a big fan of past tense, either writing or reading, but to each their own.

Matthew MacNish said...

1) Both
2) Two
3) Never present tense!
4) Both

The main motivation should be to save the world while looking hawt with perfect hair (for the guy).

For the girl perfect toenails are more important.

Unknown said...

Working on something new is fun.
I like writing a chapter in first person and then third person and seeing which I like best and which feels best for the story.
I think two POVs can work if you have two strong characters.
Past tense.
Female MC or male- Whichever tells the story the story the best.

Jamie D. said...

1. Third, always for me. Don't like reading or writing 1st as a general rule.

2. Normally two, because I write contemp. romance and romantic suspense, and I like hearing the hero's side too. Occasionally I'll dip into the antagonist as well, but not often.

3. Past tense, except in dialogue where present is warranted.

4. Both - one of each. When I'm reading, doesn't matter, I like either or both. :-)

Motivations - there are only so many basic motivations out's what you do with 'em that makes them fresh and different. Jealousy, Fear, Greed and Lust are my "big four" - all of my characters problems have their "roots" in one of those, and branch from there.

Good luck! New is exciting... :-)

Christina Farley said...

I started writing my current wip in 3rd person but it was all wrong and the whole time I wanted to write it in first person present. I needed that NOW and ACTION feeling. So I went and rewrote that whole beginning. So worth it!

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