blush of dawn Jade Nicole Beals

Writing Point of View and Verb Tense in My Novel in Progress

I thought I would keep myself away from my novel today with a thought of taking a little break, but it wasn’t so, I worked on it awhile today, and I am glad I did.

One thing I’d found was that any narrator (first, third limited, third omniscient, or second – which addresses the reader as “you”) can have their own voice. An author may even find that the third person narration tells the story like their own natural voice or way of speaking or storytelling, but also doesn’t have to.

If you are writing third person omniscient as I am right now, in which the narrator refers to the characters by their names and tells the events, including the inner thoughts of more than just a single character, this narrator can still have a tone, voice, and personality or way of sharing the story through word choice and sentence length or rhythm that can keep the story flowing and feel unified.

I’d found something big: since I’d been introduced to fiction after writing poetry for most of my life, I was taught in my short story writing classes that most short stories are told very well in the present tense, as in…the character looks up and down, It is wintertime in the village, etc.

But what helped me today was to rewrite my novel draft in the past tense as was my original intention. What helped me decide this was to read a few opening passages of a couple of novels that were monumental in my memory, or of a similar writing style to my own and finding that these similar novels were written very well in the past tense.

My rewritten draft reads more gracefully to me now, as in “the character said” Or “She was standing by the window…”

“The letter” I’d found I was writing most recently in my draft I was questioning if it was good for flow or my own main focus to include this different genre, and at this point, I retold the contents of the letter in present day conversation or dialogue.

This passage begins with a question asked by the main character the protagonist, and then another main character, the one who wrote the letter, replies to that. And I feel another action will happen next, maybe after this conversation I am writing takes place, or even interrupting it.

I am up to 2841 words in my draft, which is just around 8-9 paperback pages, and this now feels like a good place at the beginning of writing this novel to take a little break for refreshment for as long as I’d like.


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