Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/10/2009

The Tense World of Writing Tense


Should I write my story in present or past tense ? A question often asked. (We won’t talk about future tense in this discussion.)

Why not write your story in both tenses, if that’s what it takes! As long as it’s done without confusing the reader. I like to think that authors can zip between tenses freely if they want to establish different times and eras to connect actions, make a point, show growth or connect resulting outcomes.

Example: A writer of his memoir narrating as an adult about actions in the past he is describing in present tense as if the actions were unfolding in real time and seen through his eyes as a teen. I hope this makes sense !

Word tense can get complicated, so in my research of this topic I will first direct my readers (the few I have!) to a “Grammer Girl” site that will describe exactly what kinds of present and past tenses there are…Surprise! There are more than “simple” past and present tenses, remember ? How about present perfect, present progressive and past perfect tenses, etc, etc ?

Go to http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/present-tense-novel.aspx for a brief review…and we will continue this discussion with the next post.

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