What person and tense do you write in?

First person, second person, third person.
Past tense, present tense, omniscient.

The choices are endless!

I know some people have a really firm preference about what person and tense they read and write in. But I don’t think I really have one. Or maybe I do, I don’t know. I’ve written in third person and first person but always in past tense. I just prefer it.

Reading wise, I’ll happily pick up anything regardless of the way it’s written… although duel perspective, first person is a little hit or miss. And second person sort of freaks me out… but aside from that, I’m open.

What are your thoughts on the person and tense? What person and tense do you write in? Do you have a preference for what you like to read? Can tense or perspective make or break a book for you?

Let’s have a discussion 🙂

If you need me, I’ll be at Camp Nanowrimo.

On a side note, my mum (being the proud mum that she is) entered me in the Best Australian Blogging Awards. So if you have a spare couple of seconds, feel free to vote for me. I’m listed as Jodie Llewellyn.

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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62 Responses to What person and tense do you write in?

  1. My current novel is third person, past tense, multiple vision. I’d be interested in trying first person, present in my next novel as long as it isn’t a sequel.

    I’m open to reading any POV as long as it is well written. IIRC Bright Lights, Big City is a good example of second person.

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  2. Day17Month11 says:

    1st person present, or 3rd person (but internally focalised) present. Sometimes, for longer texts, I do past tense. But I prefer present. Makes it more of a surprise, if neither the reader nor narrator knows what’s going to happen

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  3. 95% of the time, third person past; only rarely third person present, and the only for short stories. I find first person far too limiting.

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  4. I’ve written in 1st person and 3rd person. I find it depends on the work, really. For those that are really centered on what’s going on a character’s head, I like 1st person. I always write long works in past tense. I’ve experimented with short stories (and a novelette) in present tense, but I think it can get tiresome over the course of a book. I know The Hunger Games really began to get on my nerves after a while in the present tense.

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  5. Linnea Ren says:

    The only two things I can’t stand are present tense, and second person. Neither of them work with my brain, and I end up translating them automatically to either first person or past tense, but sometimes I don’t and I get confused.

    I always write in past tense, but I’ll switch between first, third, and omniscient, depending on what I feel the story needs. As for reading? Same. I’ll read anything really as long as it’s not the two things I mentioned above. And yes, tense will make or break a book for me. If it’s in present tense I can’t read it without my brain exploding, so I won’t.

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  6. Lisa Thomson says:

    I’ve tried them all and they each have their pros and their cons. First person present allows me to feel a lot closer to the character, really get in his or her head, however it does limit you to the person’s perceptions and experience. Third person gives me more range but as a result, I don’t feel as in tune with my characters. For one novel, I wrote a few chapter in second person present, which was really intriguing and fun, but I think it’s best in small doses.

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  7. sebxiii says:

    It completely
    depends on the story. I’m not a fan of first person but it can work.

    My current work is third person but a single view point throughout. But the trilogy I came up with for my next work will be third with multiple pov

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  8. I only feel comfortable writing in third person, past tense; usually omniscient, although I favour limited for short stories.

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  9. When it comes to prose I find third person easier to write in; I find poetry flows easy in first person. However, it’s ironic that writing prose in first person has always been tougher than in third, for me at least

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  10. micalahtaylor95 says:

    I write in a weird hybrid of first and second person. However, I usually always write in present tense.

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