A while ago, I made a post about how I wrote in third person limited, because I couldn’t write in first person effectively. I think I also at some point expressed a dislike for present tense stories. But it just occurred to me that the last two short stories I wrote, that I think will see publication once I start submitting them to more accessible venues, (i.e., NOT The New Yorker and Arc, which is where they are currently, because, ya know, ego, size of a house, yada yada), are both written in first person and both written in present tense.
The second novel, which should not see the light of day because it’s a little too close to real life, but I might clean up and try to submit places because I’m stupid that way, was written in alternating first person present and third person limited past tense. (Odd, I know, but I have nothing to lose. And it kinda works because they’re both the same character.)
(I’m still eight and half years from the ten-year mark when I should actually start to expect publication anyway.)
I’m actually pleased with this development, because it means I’m finding the right point of view and tense for the type of story I’m telling and I’m not locked into one approach.
And I’m also relieved that the third “strong character” story that I’m working on is actually in third person limited past tense, so I’m also not getting into some weird pattern where I default to first person present every time I want to tell an emotionally wrought story. (Note: I may be misusing wrought there…but that’s how language evolves. At least if someone picks that usage up and carries it on, like I might have done already. Run my friends! Carry the torch forward!)
What’s going to be interesting is that I see my work breaking down into various categories and I can’t quite imagine the categories appealing to the same readers. I like all the stuff I’m writing, and I can’t, quite honestly, sit in those emotionally intense stories all the time. Right now I certainly can’t imagine writing an entire novel at that level. I think it would be exhausting for me and for my readers.
I don’t know. On one hand I have these three character-driven, emotional stories. On the other side of the coin I have these concept stories that aren’t meant to be emotional and are often a bit satirical. (One of those is the rule filing one – currently with betas, we’ll see what they say.)
They’re kind of worlds apart.
(And, who knows, maybe when I evolve further as a writer I’ll be able to write these concept stories as emotionally charged stories, and that’s a further step in my writing that I just haven’t reached yet? But then I think I’d lost the “this is really a joke” aspect of them.)
(Don’t you love when I just talk to myself about things that you haven’t seen so can’t judge for yourselves? Someday. Someday.)
Well, only answer is to keep writing, right? Right.
(Oh! And a few random milestones before I forget. I think yesterday may have been the first time someone looked for me “mh lee writer” in a google search and it wasn’t me! And I hit 100 followers the other day. Woohoo!)