Thursday 29 April 2010

Two pieces of advice

1. Most writers probably already know this, but I didn't, so I thought I'd pass it on:

Never write in any tense other than the one you're going to be happy with. I've just had to change thousands of words from the present tense into the past tense(s) . I'd forgotten how many irregular verbs there are in English, and in any case, it's an extremely tedious task.

2. For a sprained ankle or swollen foot, nothing beats one of those cold wine cuffs. Not even frozen peas. I won't bore anyone with the horrible accident which necessitated the use of said cuff, but I thought I'd pass on the tip.


  1. Oh Frances, both those sound like irritations you could well do without.Te tip about the tense, I'm wondering if it applies to the person too, i.e third to first person. That would also be a pain to re-write. As for the wine cuff, hope drinking it had something to do with the little accident!

  2. I was about to say i couldn't write in present tense and then realized I had - in diary entries of one of charaters. But over all I find it too tricky for my simple brain.

    Deborah - re pov I fins sometimes writing a scene in first person helps me 'see' the scene and then rewriting it in 3rd afterwards makes all the difference. Yes, it's more work...

    Frances, yes the wine coolers are very useful indeed. Hope your injury heals quickly.


  3. Dee - I think that third to first person would be even harder. Don't know...and no, sadly the accident had nothing to do with drink and everything to do with horses rushing through gates.

    Liz - I love first person. My second novel was all in the first person. It makes the POV perfectly straightforward from beginning to end because there's only one! Thanks for the good wishes.

  4. I've gone from third to first.

    If you do it simply as a mechanical operation, it isn't hard, but if you do it the way one ought to, it changes the pages dramatically. A first-person narrator can (and usually should) "intrude" into the text in the way no author should.

    I've done some work in present tense, but I find it a little claustrophobic; some things are quite hard to say, and flashbacks and flashforwards can become a nightmare...