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[2014.04.04] Kim Jong Kook x “K-WAVE & K-HIT Product Festival” event in Shanghai

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[2014.04.04] Kim Jong Kook x “K-WAVE & K-HIT Product Festival” event in Shanghai

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running man logic
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Kim Jong Kook x Running Man ep 190

*Screencap* - Part 18/25

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Anonymous said: Can you give me advice about write in first person in the present, like in Hunger Games books, please?


I’ll try my best…! I ‘ll break this up into technicalities and technique so you can just jump to whichever part you need to use.

Technicalities: Changing Tenses

When I get confused about tenses, I break it up into two sections. So, first of all you have ‘first person’. First person is referring to oneself as ‘I’. For example:

I snatched the bread from the table, dropping it into my lap before the master had a chance to notice.

The next section is ‘present tense’. Present tense refers to things happening instantaneously, in the here and now. Using the previous example, it would look like this:

snatch the bread from the table and drop it into my lap, so that the master doesn’t notice.

Changing tenses usually requires a switch in your word choice/order. I could have kept the sentence exactly the same as before, but to me it wouldn’t sound very ‘in the present’.

When the sentence was past tense, the protagonist was in a state of knowing future events. They were recounting a tale, not telling one as it happened, so they knew that in the moments afterwards, the master didn’t have a chance to see them steal.

On the contrary, when it’s present tense, there’s a lot of unknown space ahead of each action. I think it’s best to try and write for that accordingly. It could be that I’m just picky, but I do think word choice and order can make a difference between tenses…!

Okay, so, exercise! Read through the following and replace all of the bold parts with present-tense words:

Mary trundled on ahead, chin-to-chest, the sled skittering on the ice behind her. I scooped up a handful of snow and hurled it, laughing as it burst into fine powder against her hat. Mary jerked to face me, tears in her eyes. Well, I always did have a habit of making things worse instead of better. Before I could apologise, she took off, leaving only me and the sled behind.

This is a case where you don’t have to juggle the words around if you don’t want to. It would still make great sense, even if you altered the tense. However, don’t be afraid to rewrite the whole paragraph if you want to. The words are there for you to play with, so go play!

And this leads nicely onto the next point…

Technique: Describing the Action

A common complaint from writers using the present tense mode is that it feels like you have to describe every thought and movement the character makes. However, you can still skip things out as you would in the third-person if you need to! So, if your character is going to move from the living room to the kitchen, you can end one paragraph at the living room and begin another at the kitchen with a break. Like so:

'None of it makes any sense,' says Ryan with a sigh.

'Yeah, all this talk is making me hungry.'

I lean forward on the couch, elbows on my knees, scrutinising the note and random code. That’s how it looks: random. Like someone just mashed their hands over the keyboard until they were satisfied. I know it’s not random though. We all know it isn’t, otherwise it wouldn’t be here. This is just another puzzle, only this time it’s Hard Mode.

Ryan and Luke are at the table, picking through the fruit bowl. I slam our evidence file in front of them.

'Take this seriously, would you?'

'Take the gibberish code seriously?' Ryan questions.

His sarcasm only sets Luke off…

The switch in place is abrupt, but it saves the preamble. You could keep it short and sweet like, ‘I get up from the couch and stride into the kitchen with purpose,’ but in my opinion, it’s not necessary. We already feel the protagonist’s sense of purpose with the slamming of the papers onto the table, and the resulting disagreement.

Personally, I find it easier to focus on particular actions, and not on every one. For example, we don’t need to see a character making a cup of coffee. Cut the words, and to the part where they’re holding the coffee (specifically if drinking coffee is part of their routine - there’s no need to describe it word-for-word more than once). So, in the end, if you mention every instance where the protagonist moves from one room to the other, it can get repetitive and feel a bit like filler. You don’t have to mention it every time, I don’t think.

Mainly because it affects pace… so I would reserve this mode for something action-packed and fast-paced, for when you want your reader to be in the moment. That’s why it works for The Hunger Games; there’s a lot of this happens, this happens, this happens, because everything is moving so quickly. If you’re writing a book with a slower pace, first person present might not be the best choice, particularly if you need to divide attention between several characters throughout the story.

Remember, it’s never too late to change the tense of your story if you find it’s not working out. By all means experiment - this is how you learn about what’s best for the piece…!

See below for some more resources on this matter. I’ve tried to include general advice as well as opinions on the mode itself. Happy reading and I hope my contribution (although it is simplistic) helps you out…! Best of luck :)

Resources: Discussions


General Help

- enlee

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the names are so accurate to their relationship 




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