Past, Present, & Pecs

I’m handwriting the delicate beginnings of a new idea down in a notebook. It came out in present tense. I tried to correct it to past tense, but it didn’t seem right somehow, so I’m letting it go as I’m writing and scouring the Internet for a decent epigraph on reincarnation or at least, souls jumping from one body to another.

Relax. That’s the only sci-fi-like bit of the story. I promise.

I recently finished reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (she wrote The Other Boleyn Girl–good book, terrible movie–and a slew of other Tudor-era related novels. I’ve read most of them, except for The Other Queen, which is about Mary Queen of Scots. I am fascinated by this period in history–and by Charles Brandon’s pecs on The Tudors on Showtime–but if you walk down the fiction section at a B&N, you’ll see four million novels based around this period.

Tudors fatigue, my friends. At least until the next season of The Tudors premieres, when another wife gets killed and presumably, the king goes reallllyyy insane. I can’t say what they’ll do to Charles Brandon (*more shirtless scenes please*) because it’s not entirely historically accurate. It doesn’t actually bother me in the least. Maybe because I wrote fanfiction? Because I’ve read historical novels for years and years? Because Henry Cavill is hot?

The White Queen is book one of her new series, the Cousins’ War, and it’s about the Plantagenets. By the 1460s, they’d split into three factions, basically, and the Houses of York and Lancaster fought a civil war across England for something like 20 years. She writes, for the most part, in present tense.

I usually write in past tense. Maybe it’s a holdover from academic writing, but I always felt sure of myself grammatically in past rather than in present. My grammar is kind of shaky when it comes to intricate constructions (blame that completely on growing up where I grew up and with whom I grew up). But present tense does give the story an immediacy.

So far, it’s in present tense and first person. It also takes place in the 90s up to now, so also modern. Different for sure, but I’m just scribbling it all down in a notebook, then I think I’ll outline it. Then I’ll write it.

Have you ever written in present tense? What’s your tense and POV of habit?

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