Tense & Perspective

It's been a few weeks since I blogged, so let me catch you up: 
I worked hard on querying, revising and synopsizing (that's a verb, right?) up until December 20th. I was working up until the minute Derek and I had to leave for the airport. A bit stressful, but ultimately it was a good plan because I was able to relax over Christmas. I saw old friends, exchanged gifts - and got sick!

I started coughing the day we got to Michigan and it quickly got worse. By Christmas Day, I was hardly eating and my cough was terrible. My mom and Derek both proposed going to urgent care, but that felt a little dramatic, given that my central problem was a cough. I waited until we got home to see my doctor. She saw me for five minutes and prescribed antibiotics. I'm still taking them. I don't think they've helped. My saving grace was that Derek was home until yesterday, so he did the majority of the dog-walking and the cooking and the errands while I slept for 13-14 hours a day and coughed until I gave myself a headache. Yoy. Today is my first day on my own again and I've done fine, just moving slower than usual. The pug has been impatient with me.

I thought I would take advantage of this post to put down my writing goals - not necessarily for the year, but for the foreseeable future. (I hope most of these things happen before the end of the year.)

  1. Finish revising Mina.
  2. Send remaining queries.
  3. Learn to use Scrivner.
  4. Write Safira.
  5. Query Safira by summer, assuming Mina does not find representation.

One good thing about being sick that I forgot to mention is that I had time to read! I read The Night Circus, which I pre-ordered before it came out and have had on my bookshelf ever since. I finally read it last week and the timing was perfect. I loved how Erin Morgenstern changed perspectives and time periods so often. It really gave the reader the feeling of being omniscient and following a group of people over a long period of time.

I hadn't decided what perspective and tense I wanted to write Safira in until I read this book. I'm not going to do exactly what Erin Morgenstern did, but I was inspired by her style. She went back and forth in time, writing from the third person in the present tense. For Safira, I'm going to write chronologically, attempting to link the chapters together to create a cohesive timeline. I'm going to write in third person past tense, changing perspectives often but trying to stick with my MC about 50% of the time.

I know past tense is a little out of fashion right now - most of the things I've read since The Hunger Games came out have been written in present tense - but past tense just seems right for this story. Past is the natural tense for telling stories anyway, and it would give me the flexibility to be retrospective.

Cheers to a New Year and a New Book!