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For Writers: In the Present Tense?

Verb Tenses


Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Julia AT Weaver Flowers:

“Using different tenses and/or mixing them in your writing”.

It’s an interesting topic. IIn general, most writers use third person, although even this is split into a few versions, like deep 3rd person POV and third person subjective.

Some writers also choose present tense to give a story a more immediate feel. This can be jarring at first, but it does put the story right in your face, like sitting in the front row at the movie theater.

I’ve tried mixing both in one story – deep 3rd for my human characters, and present for my werewolf in wolf form – but it ended up being too confusing for readers.

So what do you think? Do you prefer one tense over another? Has anyone ever used second person? And do you (or would you) ever try mixing tenses in a book?

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2 thoughts on “For Writers: In the Present Tense?”

  1. I’ve said before that before I got the knack for it, I used to shift tenses in the same story because I was sloppy! I’m not good enough to try the mixed tenses for real in fiction! :)

  2. I’ll admit, I get mixed up and shift. I try to stay in the past tense, though. Part of the whole story being linked to history, or herstory. Or otherstory. :)(othstory, hmm, how’s oth for a non-gendered pronoun? Or othestory? Pardon, I digress. :)) I do favor past tense, although I’ve written in present.


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