ness writes about writing

The Pros and Cons of Writing in First Person, Present Tense

In January, I knuckled down and managed to write the sequel to The Dragons We Hunt. Next up? A sequel to that sequel to write – the final book in a trilogy written entirely in first person, present tense.

In honour of squeezing out book number two, I have compiled a list and entitled it: ‘The Pros and Cons of Writing in First Person, Present Tense’.

(I’m sure you’ll agree that is a very imaginative title).

(a few of) The Pros and Cons of Writing in First Person, Present Tense


– You are given the ability to plunge into the mind of the Main Character – what they are thinking, how they think and what makes them tick.

– You look at the world through their eyes. Some characters, for instance, are dreamers, and as such, they look at the world with slightly more imaginative eyes. Others are very matter of fact and a sunset is simply that – a sunset.


– The reader is more involved in the character and everything happens right. now. (The mouse is nibbling away at the cheese. Dawwww!  So cute. It’s so adorable. It does my soul such goo- OHMYWORD A CAT JUST ATE IT! Blood! Guts! Gore! Oh the horror. Quick, let me Instagram it).

– There is the interesting challenge of portraying other characters through the MC’s own, biased eyes.


– Writing in first person, present tense is constrictive. You can’t soar over the mountains and show that Tom the Shepherd has lost his first sheep while the Hero/Heroine is attempting to swim in the ocean. You can’t dive into other people’s minds.

– If the reader doesn’t get the MC then the rest of the book will be awful, for the POV (in this case) never changes from the MC.

– In real life, many things happen that we simply don’t understand. Usually, when this happens, we google it. However, in my Viking/Mongolian world, Google doesn’t exist, so tough luck for the MC – you’re just going to have to deal with it. (Or, I’ll write a sequel from someone else’s POV explaining it all … yep, that could work).

Have a great week!


No mice or sheep were injured in the writing of this post. Honest.

3 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Writing in First Person, Present Tense”

  1. XD Oh, the horror. Poor little mouse. *sniffles* I’m planning a couple stories to write in first person, but I just can’t handle present tense. Unless I’m doing a roleplay. πŸ˜€

    1. A moment of silence for the mouse … πŸ™‚ Give it a shot – practise using first person tense; scribble anything – anything at all – down and you will get the hang of it, I’m certain. Get β€˜dem stories out πŸ˜€

      1. *moment of silence* Next rat! Sorry, youtube video reference… πŸ˜€ I use first person in roleplays, and…. *cough* That’s been over a thousand pages worth… Just don’t seem to use it in my normal writing.

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