First Person Present the New HOT thing in YA??

Sunday, August 8, 2010


A lot of people HATE first person point of view for what ever reason and dislike present tense even more. I myself, LOVE IT! I've been writing in first present for a couple years, and I got to tell ya, it just feels natural to me--kind of like my best friend is telling me the story. It brings me closer to the main character and makes me care for them like they are my BFF and am apart of something happening right now.



In the last few weeks I've gotten my hands on some pretty buzz-worthy ARCs and I've noticed a few of them were written in 1st person POV, which made me quite happy! But now I'm left wondering...IS present tense now the HOT trendy way to write YA?

What do you guys think??? Have you heard any agent/editor buzz on it?

15 comments:

Kirsten said...

I love to write in first present. It's so immediate and intimate. But I definitely feel like I read more first past books in YA lit -- I think there's been lots of frowning on first present, although that seems to be changing. I'm embracing it!

- Kirsten

Amanda Hannah said...

I think there's definitely been more first present than there used to be. And with all the dystopians and thrillers coming out, we'll probably see more. Honestly, I'm not partial to any. As long as the writing is good, I'm sucked in :)

Kaitlin Ward said...

I've read TONS of first person, present tense lately. I don't necessarily prefer it over past--I like both fairly equally (and I like third person! I'm so flexible, hehe), but I'm glad that it's so accepted in YA, despite all the mutterers who call it gimmicky or whatever other ignorant thing, because it can be so great.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL. Ellen Hopkins critted my first 15 pages at the LA SCBWI conference last weekend. The first thing she said was, "I want you to rewrite this to present tense." It was already in first person. Like you, I love first person present so I was happy with the comment. I tried it out and love it. Plus it makes sense since my novel is YA romantic suspense.

Shalena @ Writer Quirk said...

I like first person, but I've only read a couple books that were in present. One I absolutely hated - it was jarring and had no flow at all. The second I barely noticed it was in present, so it didn't bother me. Like Amanda said, if the writing is good it probably won't matter.

Annie McElfresh said...

Thanks for all the input guys! It's always awesome to hear what others think. :D

Helen Ellis said...

I wrote my novel, The Turning: What Curiosity Kills, in first person present and never made a conscious decision to do it. The narrator's voice simply "came out that way." I think when you are a teenager everything is immediate and powerful because so much is happening to you for the first time. You feel more intensely than you do as an adult. I wanted my character and my readers to experience that what's-around-the-corner? rush.
Helen Ellis

June G said...

I started writing first person present completely by accident. When I first began to write with the idea of seeking publication, one of the first things I heard was to avoid the passive voice. I thought that meant to write in first person, present. It's the only way I've ever written.

When I realized my misunderstanding, I tried to re-write the story in past tense, but I didn't like the sound or feel of it, so I went back to present. It feels so natural and easy to me, it's hard for me to imagine writing any other way. I would like to experiment with another tense, but I really love first person present, especially since I write YA.

I guess I'll get around to trying something else one day, but it's nice to see so many people coming over to "my" way of doing things...lol...

Jill Wheeler said...

I <3 first person present. I get irritated when people say they won't read anything written in this way. That discounts practically the whole YA market.

Horserider said...

I love first person present, reading and writing it. Everything I read used to be past tense. Then Hunger Games came out and all of a sudden it was like present tense was everywhere and it's still going strong! It's one of those things that works well for some stories and not so well for others.

Sarah B. said...

I love it in YA!

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