As a writer you are stuck with two modes:
1. Third person narrative, past tense or
2. First person, past tense.
There are notable exceptions such as the very occasional foray in second person (the only English- language novel written entirely in second person is Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney) but second person is a narrative mode that tends to irritate the reader. (At a slim 80-odd pages McInerney’s novel does not wear out its welcome)
I know my dissatisfaction with the default modes of narrative sounds presumptuous but I’ve tried varying my narrative voices with second person and unreliable first persons. I made them so unreliable I saw polygraphs on the blank page instead of text. Postmodern theorists and meta-texts were revisited. Francis Fukuyama has a point when he proclaimed the Death of The Author. Sometimes it feels like you’re typing from the other side.
There is not much you as a writer or a reader can do about the default modes. Mainly because humans are the only animals who tell stories (unless a marine biologist possesses footage of whales or dolphins regaling each other with tales – no pun intended). We like our stories set in the past to feel a sense of history and continuity, fictional or not. Try writing a short story in the future tense (believe me, I have) and the artifice really stands out.
But don’t jettison third person or first person narratives because writers and readers love to pretend (This character could be me!). Hence, second person grates after several pages because the writer is telling the reader who or what to pretend.
Perhaps default modes are so because they *work*. Have you tried experimenting with different modes of narrative in your writing?