A lesson I learned from blogging was to be aware of my tenses. For me, it was and still is a major hurdle for me to jump. I get confused and apparently the reader who pointed out I was mixing my tenses got confused too.
When I started Hidden Temptation I started writing it in the present tense. It proved to be a little difficult. In Hidden Temptation, there are a few flashbacks, more like memories that are in the past tense. I’ve questioned other writers on a Facebook forum. I was told many writers mix their tenses in their novels. I, however, was mixing my tenses in the same sentences. I guess that was why agents didn’t respond to my queries. I appeared to be a novice. This was why I had to edit Hidden Temptation for the seventh time.
No matter how good your story line is, if you grammar isn’t correct you will have difficulty getting readers to read past the first page. Not completely true, because my friends who read Hidden Temptation didn’t mention it. But then I discovered not all my readers were honest. I mentioned in an earlier post that I read a friend’s book with errors falling off the pages. The writer told me their spouse edited for them. You would think your spouse would be honest.
After I took a couple of classes and read a few books. I wrote two screenplays about twenty years ago. Writing a script was like writing a short story. I learned that one page equals one minute. You have twenty minutes, give or take to capture a viewer’s attention. If you fail to pique their interest in that time they will probably change the channel.
I don’t know how many pages an average reader will read before they close a book, they deem poorly written. I’m not an average reader because I will continue to read a poorly written story and one not too compelling because I’m attached to the characters and/or the writer introduced the dilemma early. I would read a poorly written book to the end because my curiosity was piqued. I would shake my head and re-write as read though.
So tell me, do you read poorly written books because you want to find out what happens? Do you have difficulty with tenses? Do you have any tricks to help you correct your tenses?
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Disclaimer: I completed Hidden Temptation, my first completed novel and this blog is a humble attempt to create interest in its debut. I am not a professional and this is no way an educational guide. I am merely sharing my writing experience, what I picked up reading other novels, and what I learned in the process of completing Hidden Temptation.
I hope my experience helps fellow writers create a higher quality of art. I do not presume that Hidden Temptation is perfect or of professional quality but I do believe it is close. Your opinions, thoughts, and feedback are most welcome. Please feel free to create an open thread and share thoughts, and opinions so that we can help each other grow as a community of writers.