When writing a story, before even getting into the writing, there are some important choices to make. Aside from the plot, I mean, that’s kind of central to the whole thing. But you need to decide how you’re going to write it. Two of the most basic things are the tense you’re going to use, and what point of view the story will be told from.
I’m not sure how it is for other people, but for me this is often an instinctive decision,one I barely even think about. I use different tenses and points of view for different stories, but I just sort of decide automatically whether I’ll be using third person past tense, first person past tense, or first person present tense for whatever particular one I’m writing. Those are the ones I use.
But I think it’s probably a choice which requires a bit more thought than that. Sometimes I have had to change my original choice because I’ve realised it’s just not working. Maybe if I’d thought a bit more to begin with then… well, I may well still have had to change it. You don’t always get things right first time – in fact, you’re certain to get at least some things wrong on your first attempt to write a story.
But the fact remains that these are things that deserve thought. I’d say most stories can probably work in different tenses and points of view, but such a fundamental thing is going to have a big effect on the writing, obviously it is. I state the obvious quite a lot, don’t I? So this post is just going to be me musing about the benefits and drawbacks of different tense/point of view combinations. I claim no authority on the subject, it’s just, as I may, my musings.