Welcome to Morning Pages — it’s time for a monthly roundup. I hope you’ve got your pencils sharpened and ready to write. Wanna join in on the fun? Read the prompt, set your timer* and get ready to let the words flow. Feel free to post the results of your work in the comments below where we chat about writing and (if the mood strikes us) get a craft discussion going.
If you want critique from other commenters, use #YESTHANKS in your comment. Otherwise, you can tell us about the flash fic and the process you went through to write it. And of course, I’m always open to hear what you think about my excerpts!
*you can write for as long as you want, but most folks choose 15-30 minutes.
What I learned this month: I never write in present tense. (I don’t know why this is.) For whatever reason, past tense has always felt more natural to me—probably because most of the SFF I read as a kid was written in third person past. Sometimes I write in present tense when I’m zero-drafting, though that’s mostly because I’m throwing the scene onto the paper as I imagine it while paying very, very little attention to tense and grammar. Often, a hodge-podge of past and present will hit the paper, only for me to spend time converting everything to past tense (and, well, legible English) when I’m writing the first draft.
I had no idea how hard writing in present tense would be until I tried it for pieces I wrote this month (“Interpretation” in particular).
I don’t know what inspired me to do it. The first sentence of “Interpretation” came out in present tense, and I looked at it for a minute, then decided to roll with it instead of making corrections. And holy cow—I had to do multiple passover edits just to make sure there weren’t any sneaky tense issues going on. (Hint: there are probably still some sneaky tense issues hanging in there.) Some of my craft experiments throughout the past few months (with POV, mostly) have made me hanker to try something other than the Third Person Multi I’d call my mainstay… but wow, nothing about writing this snippet in present tense makes me ever want to try it again. I’m pretty sure writing a novel this way would utterly break my brain.
If you routinely switch back and forth between tenses… wow friend, I commend you for it. My brain sizzles just thinking about it.
“Write a snippet of dialogue in which two listeners interpret the conversation in completely different ways.”
It’s no secret that Imran finds the Oceanic language strange.
“I can feel your nerves.”
Maestro intimidates his principal cellist.
“You said that the last time I died. Or was that two deaths ago?”
Weaver ‘verse. Jael Soti can’t seem to stay alive.
“Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat”
Miran from the Oceana ‘verse has some regrets about how he raised his sons.
“A mythical creature hides in plain sight.”
“Hook, Line, Sinker:” The bartender is a selkie. Hear me out—I have evidence.
“A stubborn, controlling, or selfish character makes a concession for someone who is starting to become their friend.”
“Shaken:” Max Battista never got along with catchers… until he met Marshall Bedford.
“Monsters in folklore prey upon unsuspecting humans who wander into their wild realms; in fact, many monsters rely on said wandering humans for food or resources. So what happened to these monsters during quarantine?”
“Hunger:” If you hear someone calling your name late at night, don’t answer.
Answer the prompts or dive straight in and respond to others’ comments — let’s share our knowledge, our experience, and have a discussion we can all learn from! Don’t want to miss a post? Subscribe to the blog in the sidebar to get notified about new posts.
- Do you tend to write in past or present tense?
- Why do you think you gravitate towards that choice?
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