Fighting is like art—there is a style to it, and everyone’s is just a little bit different. And since style has such a broad scope, it’s hard to define and talk about unless you delve. So delve we will!
In Shaolin Kempo, the style of martial arts I get beat up in regularly, we focus on five animals: snake, crane, tiger, leopard and dragon.
Everyone secretly wants to fight like a dragon, but very few actually can or do. There’s a lot of spinning involved, and I don’t like to turn my back on my opponent, so no dragon for me. I’m a tiger snake.
Don’t laugh. It’s true. I fight straight on, like a tiger, but I wait for just the right moment, and instead of completely mauling my opponents, I dart in, hit a couple of key targets and get back out, like a snake. I’m too short to pull off a real tiger (curse you tall, long limbed people), so this is my preferred method. But sometimes it doesn’t work, so I have to channel my inner dragon or crane and shift my approach.
When I write, I prefer to do so from a third person, limited, past tense point of view. No first person, no omniscient POV, certainly no present tense (it hurts my head) and I avoid long chunks of description whenever possible. Bring on the dialog!
Well, in the name of being flexible, which Sensei keeps telling me I should get more serious about, I decided to write my next novel from the first person POV. I really love the character’s voice, and I think the intimate view of first person is just the right thing for the story.
The other night I wrote part of the first chapter. I didn’t realize until half way down the page that I was writing in third person. Old habits die really hard!
So this is my personal exercise in flexibility. I shall embrace the first person POV and let my character’s voice shine like the sun!
But no present tense. Never present tense.