Tense--past and present headaches

Ah
Ahab
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:19 am Post

kewms wrote:
xiamenese wrote:Why's the engine running if they're at anchor? And if they're setting off out of the harbour, why not do it on the engine and set sails and shut down the engine once they're clear of the other boats? I'm not a sailor -- I guess many of your readers won't be -- but this strikes me as very odd as it would be easier to negotiate their way through the other boats on the engine than having to make allowance for wind direction and changeability.


I'm not a sailor either, but I have been around marinas a fair amount. I'd say that it would be extremely unusual to raise sail until the boat was safely out in the channel. Sails just aren't very good for maneuvering in close quarters.

Katherine


Well, speaking as an experienced mariner, on both commercial and recreational boats, and having left that particular harbor many times under similar conditions (and, of course, knowing what's going on in the other 38,000 words I didn't post), leaving there under sail at 4am, when your nasty engine will arouse the civilians in unpleasant ways, is perfectly understandable. No sailor motors when he can sail, and with it blowing 15 knots on a broad reach, there's nothing to keep her from doing so. Indeed, it would be entirely out of character for a webfooted type like the heroine to do anything else _but_ sail out of the harbor--especially since just outside the harbor the sea will be running, and the pressure of the wind on the sail will steady the boat; with just the motor, she'll roll like a porpoise.

But a lone woman isn't going to haul in two anchors without coming up over them with the engine. You can't very well do that under sail--well, you can, but not in confined quarters.

But then I was simply looking for a reading on tense. The sailing part I'm fine with.

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Wock
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:24 pm Post

Ahab wrote:And yet in your signature you quote Mark Twain, whose greatest work, Huckleberry Finn, was written entirely in first-person present.

My reading: tense and POV are fashions, like beards, bellbottoms, and avocado-green appliances--cycling in and out of favor with the times.


I neither agreed nor disagreed with Present versus past. My only point is you have to be careful with your POV and storytelling vs narration.

You cannot tell a story in present tense but you can narrate one in past tense. :-)

To tell a story means you are recounting an event. (past tense) Narrating one you can use both tenses and POV can be tricky.

One example is the difficulty of present tense and First Person POV.
Very tricky. Can be done but tricky.

Depending on your style and presentation you can either have a work of art or you can confuse the reader with the time frame and POV confusion.

Both are obtainable (past and present) just depends on your writing style.

The easy flag to look for is a reader that does not know the story to be able to follow it without confusion.

Mark Twain was an excellent writer and was very good at his presentation and his style.

Being able to write in present tense and pull it off without confusion leads credence to his skill as a writer.

Past tense is much easier because it is "Story Telling". A very common method of recounting events. The reader only has to follow a chain of events to learn the outcome of a story.

Present tense is tricky because the reader has to be able to become a part of the story as it is happening and keep the "time frame" of events since it is happening now instead of "then" so a reader can be confused much easier because keeping track with time can be tricky. (Did it happen or is it happening and if so when and how does that effect the story and its flow?"

The reader is the final judge of things because if they cannot follow the story they will either not continue reading it or they may not understand what is happening and become confused.
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Jaysen
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:59 pm Post

Wock wrote:The reader is the final judge of things because if they cannot follow the story they will either not continue reading it or they may not understand what is happening and become confused.

Which may be the point. The best example of this is the movie Momentum. I have seen this same assault tactic used in short stories with great effect.

Note the use of the work "assault". I think the FPPOV is prone to assaulting readers through either inconsistency or via disjointed time line.

S. Clemens (we know who that is) was a master of the FP because that is the way he engaged the world everyday. He assaulted everything personally. His personal letters, lectures, short stories and novels are primarily assaults. He just the extended his thought process into everything he produced. I guess my perspective is that you have to think in FP to make it work. I know that I do not, and so I am not attempting to write it yet.

Now that we have mentioned Mr. Clemens, I think that Puddiin' Head Wilson is one os the most underrated books of all time. The original CSI with a twist of Colombo and a shake of Matlock. It is one if my yearly reads.

Another is the Burlesque Auto Biography. I read a portion of that and laugh for days. My wife actually asks me to not bring that one into the bedroom because I apparently laugh in my sleep. I find it a shame that this book is not required as reading in high school. The chapter describing the US flag is very moving.

Here I am hijacking another thread.
Jaysen

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Wock
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:46 pm Post

I think required reading in high school is now

Windows For Dummies
Dr Phil
It's Not Your Fault it is Theirs.
Why Teen Pregnancy is Cool.
Top 100 Rehab Programs For Those That Are Unloved.
Ritalin for the Masses
You Must Have ADD
Blame Your Fallacies On Your Parents HMO
It is Not You Fault it is You Parents
10 Step Program For Being Cool
Guns Are For Minors
When She Says No She Is Saying Yes
IM and MySpace are Better Than Books
Look Ma No Hands - A Guide to Driving Drunk
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

Ma
Matthew Graybosch
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:59 pm Post

Wock wrote:I think required reading in high school is now


When I was doing time, this was the required reading list:

The Communist Manifesto
Popularity Is Everything
Everybody Does It; You Should, Too
Better Living Through Conformity
Obedience is Happiness
Whoever Dies with the Most Toys Wins
Bullshitting for Fun and Profit
Your Brain Just Gets in the Way

And there was a gem by Floyd Ferris called "How do You Know that You're Thinking?".
Using Scrivener 1.12 beta on 1st gen MacBook (Lilywhite Lilith)
"Arioch! Arioch! Hookers and blow for my lord Arioch!"

Ah
Ahab
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:54 pm Post

Matthew Graybosch wrote:
Wock wrote:I think required reading in high school is now


When I was doing time, this was the required reading list:

The Communist Manifesto
Popularity Is Everything
Everybody Does It; You Should, Too
Better Living Through Conformity
Obedience is Happiness
Whoever Dies with the Most Toys Wins
Bullshitting for Fun and Profit
Your Brain Just Gets in the Way

And there was a gem by Floyd Ferris called "How do You Know that You're Thinking?".


I'm not ordinarily thankful that I grew up when I did, hiding under all those desks waiting for the A-bombs to drop, but perhaps our required high-school reading list--Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Moby-Dick, Great Expectations, Catcher in the Rye--was adequate compensation for duck-and-cover, madras shirts, and flat-tops.

Ma
Matthew Graybosch
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Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:25 pm Post

Ahab wrote:I'm not ordinarily thankful that I grew up when I did, hiding under all those desks waiting for the A-bombs to drop, but perhaps our required high-school reading list--Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Moby-Dick, Great Expectations, Catcher in the Rye--was adequate compensation for duck-and-cover, madras shirts, and flat-tops.


What makes you think I read any of the tripe on my list? I'd just get the Cliff's Notes, ace the examples, and use the books to hide more interesting reading material, like Stanley Milgram's Obedience to Authority.
Using Scrivener 1.12 beta on 1st gen MacBook (Lilywhite Lilith)

"Arioch! Arioch! Hookers and blow for my lord Arioch!"