I’ve just begun the journey that is The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (SUCH a British name!) and I am completely baffled by its use of the present tense. It is almost distracting to me, for I have not made it a habit of reading different tenses. So of course I had to experiment.
I pulled out my computer and opened the project I’m half working on (it’s not my main focus but has been a fun experiment) and started from the beginning, and turned everything to present tense. I’m not sure if I like it. It feels less eloquent, less beautiful. But it is radical in a way. Amazing what a little tweak can do to change a story- I feel as though it makes my character more stubborn, careless, and apathetic as opposed to writing it in the past-tense. I don’t know why. She almost feels like a different person to me. Her story feels more like a farce, when I write it in present tense. Everything serious and melancholic she says immediately becomes comic.
It’s the middle of December and I’ve finally got on board with the season. I’ve been listening to the The Rat Pack’s Christmas carols and trying to appreciate the December blues and the holiday of giving, all the while being caught up in my own head. Rejection letter after rejection letter after rejection letter- for poems, short stories, and my long story. The short story I was 95% sure on getting published was rejected as well, so looks like I have to start from scratch again. Not that I don’t like writing short stories, because I do, but I like long ones better. I prefer reading novels to short stories, hands down, but sometimes the shorter tales are nice because you can pack them with more magic in less space, and a good one has the power to really stick to your bones.
I also wrote a Buzzfeed-esque article on boozy brunching yesterday that was really fun and maybe I’ll submit that. And if I can’t get published in Buzzfeed or Thought Catalog then what the hell am I doing pursuing writing?
Another thing I’ve been battling is fantasy vs. non fantasy writing. I’m not an established writer, so I feel as though I should play around with different genres, if not for anything else than to see what I can produce. The experiment project of mine is not fantasy, and it’s satisfying in its own way- but I always find myself going back to fantasy, because why say a truth in a mundane way when you can communicate it in an other-worldly, macabre, or fantastic way? Fantasy feels less tell-y to me, and I generally like to read works that show instead of tell.