First-Person Present Tense: Strengths and Weaknesses in the Hunger Games Trilogy

I recently finished reading Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy of books. I will admit that when they first came out, I avoided them, thinking they were going to be another Twilight-esque set of stories. It is a little unfair for me to criticize Twilight because I never read any of the books, but I did suffer through the first movie and that was enough for me.

On a whim, I decided to try The Hunger Games because I needed an audio book to pass the time while doing chores at home. In the end, I am very glad that I did. I found all three books to be the audio equivalent of page-turners, in particular the first two.

The most striking aspect of the books was their mostly effective use of first-person present tense through the eyes and mind of the central character, Katniss Everdeen. First-person present seems to be the current rage in fiction, especially in young adult fiction (though I would question the appropriateness of the Hunger Games for early teens). I also recently finished James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard, which also used first-person present, though to lesser success.

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A Disciplined First Draft

Like many writers, I am my own harshest critic. Because of this, my novel’s first draft has been a slow, arduous process and I’m only roughly one-third of the way through.

Since my last writing post, I have pushed my word count over 34,000, but I still get stuck analyzing every word, revisiting, revising, and not just letting the words flow. I am reading several books on writing at the moment and they all share the same message that with first drafts, you should just keep writing and not interrupt the creative process by self-editing and laboring over every single word. Unfortunately, it goes against my inner-critic nature to approach writing this way.
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Parents: The Ultimate Multitaskers

If universities ever wanted to teach their students how to multitask or if corporations ever wanted to train their employees in effective time management skills, all they would have to do is offer hands-on work studies or off-site training seminars in parenting. Looking just at this past week, my job functions included being chauffeur, short-order cook, soccer coach, artist, woodworker, housekeeper, teacher, accountant, nutrition specialist, etc., etc.

I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back, but to collectively pat the back of all active parents. Sometimes I wonder how parents have managed this since the dawn of mankind. I will admit, however, that much of my free time lately has been spent planning a mostly kid-free vacation.

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How to Approach Writing a First Fiction Novel

In my first blog post, I referenced that writing is a passion of mine, both as a hobby and as a profession. Simply having an active blog is a testament to that, but my interest goes far beyond blogging about my adventures as a stay-at-home dad. I have also spent most of my professional life as a technical writer and communicator.

So, welcome to a new section of my blog dedicated to the writing craft. My personal focus currently lies in fiction writing, but I will not limit my discussion to fiction alone. I’m interested in talking with you about all types of writing styles and any topics involved with the craft: fiction/nonfiction, novels, short stories, and publishing to name a few. If you have a topic you want to talk about, please let me know!

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