I do believe I’ve mentioned Charlie N. Holmberg a time or two… or ten XD. My most recent post was on her Numina trilogy, but there have been numerous others. This time, it’s another of her stand-alone novels, The Will and the Wilds.
The story follows Enna and her dealings with the mysting Maekallus, which run the gamut of fighting off other magical creatures, using an enchanted stone, and preventing a war between two realms. As per usual with Ms. Holmberg, the story takes you into a captivating fantasy world and features a subtle romantic twist. In other words, I loved it!
My only complaint with these books is that I struggle to put them down. (But even then, is that really a bad thing? ;-P) And partway through the novel, I realized something about this particular story that might explain why: it’s because the book is written in present tense.
Ms. Holmberg’s use of present tense provides a strange sense of urgency. It feels as if the story itself – happening right now – is beckoning you onward, compelling you to continue. Past tense, which is more commonly found in storytelling, subconsciously reassures us that all these events have already taken place, therefore we are not required to rush into reading them (unless, of course, the story is just that exciting). Another of her books is also written in present tense – Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. Though I don’t recall exactly if I felt the same driving compulsion to read that novel all the way through at once, I’m sure I felt something similar.
I can honestly say that I’ve never actually tried writing a story in the present tense. I’m not even sure I’ve considered it. My automatic default – as it is for most writers – is to write like everything already happened in the past. I’ve dabbled in different perspectives: first person is my favorite, though I have a few stories that do better with omniscient third… still, both of those are fairly common in the writing world.
I don’t know if I would be able to break the past tense habit. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel compelled to try. But now, after feeling its effects, I’m curious. I think it takes a special kind of story to play out well in present tense – and I won’t lie, I’m rather addicted to my first person past POV – but maybe someday I’ll find just the right book to try something new ;-).
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.