Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't you hate it when...?

Sometimes a book takes over and bitch-slaps you and makes you do it the book's way.

Baptism for the Dead has always wanted to be in present tense. I tried to write it in past tense since that tends to be easier to sell, but the book is not giving any ground. When I allow myself a little deviation and go with present for a few paragraphs or a couple of chapters, some mighty delicious prose and a really fascinating plot just come ripping right out of me. When I rein it in and go back to past tense, I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall that has a whole bunch of outy-facey spikes on it.

I am just about to hit 20,000 words. I've been working on this book since May. I should be closer to 60,000 words by now. I think if I keep it in present, my productivity will increase dramatically.

Present tense it is. You got it, boss.


  1. I kind of like it when stuff like that's aggravating to fight it and usually a pain to revise enough to accommodate it, but it usually means SOMETHING about the story is good and strong. I worry when a story *doesn't* have something that pulls me that hard in one direction or another.

  2. You're right.

    And I'll only need to rewrite about 16,000 words of past tense...not too bad. Actually, a good chunk of that is the Adam stuff, which should stay in past tense.

    I guess I'll need to remove the parts where it seems like Lauren is writing in a journal or writing to a friend, though. Those should be in present and it'd be weird to imply that she is "presently" writing in a journal but writing in present tense.

    This is getting confusing!