- What tense do you write your YA in?
- Do you believe one tense is better than the other?
- What about marketing, from an editor or agent's standpoint? Is past tense easier to sell or present tense?
- What person do you write in mostly? First, Second, Third person close, Third person omniscient?
Okay, so I had more than just one question.
I've heard a lot of chatter around the blogosphere lately, about these exact questions. Some folks believe YA written in present tense brings the reader closer to the main character, makes for a more intimate relationship, it's the near and now. This, for the most part, is totally true. And from the stats on YA first person novels purchased, it's obvious that some readers love that.
But is it the tense of the story or the story itself which a reader falls in love with? We've argued many times that tense and person can make or break a story.
Before a writer even begins writing the first chapter, he/she must decide who is going to tell that particular story (person) and how it's going to be told (tense). Person can give a writer the freedom to give the reader views and information from many different angles of a story - Third Person Omniscient. Then there's Third Person Close, which can lead to more intimacy between a main character and the audience - limiting, but more freeing than First Person, which, as we know, limits the writer's options. Vital information must be delved out to the reader from the view of only one character and said character might not have full access to all the information the reader will need to follow the story line(s). But there are ways around that, which we won't get into today. We won't touch upon second person, either.
Recently, I've heard that a first person present tense debut YA novel could possibly be too hard a sell. Editors shy away from first person as well as present tense, with the exception of established and well-read authors. What if you are a debut YA author with a great story written in first person present tense? Should you change it, knowing that if you were already that established and well-read YA author your story would probably be accepted as is by an editor?
What do you do?