Back on the Straight and Narrow

Yesterday I gave myself a ‘Writers’ Migraine’.

Some of you might know that I’ve been suffering from something of a writers’ block just lately, mainly as a result, I think, of the stress of anticipation, rejections, anticipation, waiting, wondering and generally just beginning to feel panic at the thought that I might be losing the pleasure of just writing for the sake of it.

I still have no news from my agent. The trilogy is still alive, I think. So I’m still waiting. Apparently it is very hard to get anything new taken on at the moment, according to my agent. Sign of the times, I suppose.

Anyway. Back to the writers’ migraine. It was those damned birds again! (See previous blog about magpies). Only this time it was a cuckoo.

I decided to go back to a previously abandoned novel and re-work it. In fact, I’ve re-worked it so much that I’ve completely changed the plot. And the title. Anyway I decided to try writing in the first person present tense.

‘Doubled Lives’ is now called ‘The White Cuckoo’ and I am on a roll. Nearly 14,000 words in a weekend (although about half of that could be classed as a re-write). Yay …….

(but it did give me a headache through too much screen-staring – ooops)

Any tips on writing in the first person, present?

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11 thoughts on “Back on the Straight and Narrow

  1. Congrats on the re-write, Annie!I get migraine from looking at the screen too – horrible isn’t it?

  2. Glad to hear you’re enthused again. I’ve done the odd short story in first person present, but nothing more substantial than that. Everything You Ever Wanted by Rosalind Wyllie is written from two first person present perspectives in alternate chapters – very clever!

  3. Oh, you’ve been through it a bit recently, ahven’t you? Look, well done for keeping going with reworking your novel. Can’t help with the first person bit, but you’re sticking with it which is the main thing. Keep going and good luck for some positive news from your agent.

  4. If it’s any consolation, Annie (most probably not but I know how you feel) the agent I’m working with has said the same thing about ‘new’ writers. It’s just bad timing for us, but persistence pays….doesn’t it!Well done for getting writing again. I’ve got back into it (even though I’m still bloody ill) and just finished the first draft of my second book in the series. Still feels good though!Sorry, can’t do first person meself! Good luck. x

  5. Well done on the word count, Annie.A tip I once read for writing in first person was to use a lot of dialogue and try not to start many sentences with ‘I’.

  6. Great wordcount, but no advice on first person present, except to keep reading it through to make sure you stay in it! I’ve written a couple of stories that way but find myself changing tense halfway through, so I guess it doesn’t come naturally!Fingers crossed for (good) agent news soon :o)

  7. I was going to give you an expert opinion on writing in the first person. But I then woke up and remenbered I’m no expert or writer. But glad that you are moving foward. Oh, eat an Easter egg, might help ;-0 TFx

  8. God that’s a hell of a lot of writing for a weekend!! You were obviously born to write:) Sounds like you are on a roll.

  9. Woo – Annie that’s a lot of words. You’re back in your garden.I wish I had tips on writing in 1st person present. All I know is that, although I like to write in it, I still end up slipping into the past. Also – when it’s done well, reading it can be a dream. When it’s not, it’s stilted and hard work. That’s no help at all is it:-(Have a lovely Easter Annie. xx

  10. Amanda – Don’t get them very often, but usually it’s my body’s way of telling me to pack it up for a bit!Helen – popping over the library this week to find ‘Everything you Ever Wanted’. I’m reading ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ at the moment which is in the 1stPP too.ChrisH – Still sticking with the 1stPP and getting used to writing in it. It’s quite hard, but good fun.LPlate – Glad you’re feeling a bit better now. Lets keep fingers crossed for both of us, eh? On the work front I’ve got Euro/County Elections to look forward to in June and then straight into restructure (I’m 53 with 28 yrs service in LG, so if they boot me out it won’t be a disaster)Pat – thanks for the tip. I’m cunningly putting it into practice as I write.Karen – I’m checking carefully – you’re right, it is easy to slip into the past tense.TF – thanks hon. Do you know, not had one Easter egg? (Lots of chocolate cake, though!)Mother X – dunno ’bout that! Hope you had a good Easter.Lane – My garden is a mess! I read that too. I’ve got a couple of readers on the go, keeping me on the straight and narrow. Heather (as always) and d-i-l to be.

  11. I write in first person present tense quite a lot. Much of Asteroid is written that way, so feel free to have a look at that. Might not be much help though, as that story is of rough draft quality. One tip is to use short, direct verbs. It helps to add a sense of immediacy to the story – one of the reasons I choose 1PPr in the first place.

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