1. Wonderful post Kristi. I know exactly what you mean. I did a similar research before working on my young adult historical romance “Fame in the Adriatic” which is serialized on Wattpad. During the planning stage, I complained a lot because a historical *should* be in the past. But before I read The Hunger Games, I read Philippa Gregory’s The Boleyn Inheritance. It comforted me. I guess the first person present tense is a trend that will be accompanied by George R. R. Martins’ multiple view points. We might be seeing more of that in young adult books. Either way I’m definitely checking out your books.

  2. I don’t write YA but had a similar experience writing a nonfiction narrative. After polling FB readers, I decided to change to the 1st person. As with you, Kristi, it was almost a 50-50 split between the likes and the like-nots.

    The reason I changed was that the first person present made the adventure more personal and seemed to draw the reader more into the moment. Once I changed, the book seemed to flow naturally.

    I guess that if you are comfortable writing in first person present to continue writing in it; if you are uncomfortable doing so, the discomfort may show in the writing and become a turnoff for the reader.

  3. I personally like both, if they are both done well. Present does feel “in the now” sometimes, but at parts it feels awkward- even in The Hunger Games. The past tense feels more natural at sometimes, yet it also is lacking at times. So, I’m on the fence in this case.

    Thanks for the great post, Ms. Kristi!

  4. Katie

    I think its a 50/50 split, you either love present tense or you hate it. I love writing in present tense but the person I use as an editor goes nuts. He also says The Hunger Games might be consider well-written but it switch tenses with in a paragraph isn’t allow in good writing. You’re either present or past. See example below:

    The Hunger Games – Page 1 – I prop myself up on one elbow. There’s enough light in the bedroom to see them. My little sister, Prim curled up on her side, cocooned in my mother’s body, their cheeks pressed together. In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down.

    Kristi is this something new for YA and it is moving toward all genres and 3rd person. Is the publisher saying it the tense is less important, if the sentence reads better in past before switching back?

  5. Hi Katie,

    I don’t know if that Hunger Games passage does actually switch tenses. At first, I thought it did, but on second reading, I almost don’t think so For example, when Katniss says “My Little sister Prim curled on her side….” She used the previous sentence, “There’s enough light in my bedroom to see them.” In other words, I see my family, now I’m going to describe them, Prim who is curled (Collins omits the “is” in this sentence), their cheeks are pressed together, etc. Just a though, but I can see how omitting the “is’s and are’s” in these parts can cause confusion for a reader. 🙂

    But great post, I agree with what everyone says here, it can be hard to find that perfect tense.

  6. Chi

    I despise, loathe, hate present tense. To the point I won’t read a book written in present tense even if it’s by one of my favorite writers. I’ve tried, but I can’t get past a few page. The tense throws me way out of the story, it feels almost like I’m back in grammar school reading the Dick and Jane books. “See Dick run. See Spot jump”

    Of course it may be my age. I’ve tried reading the books everyone’s raved about like the Hunger Games, but I can’t get past the present tense long enough to get more than a page or so read.

  7. Lisa Pais

    I love first person present. When you watch a movie, it is first person present. It is a natural way to view/read a story. A novel should be told however the author wants to tell it.

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