Thursday, March 27, 2014

What tense do you use most often???

I read an article in Writer's Digest (WD) online yesterday that got me thinking and wondering - what tense do you write in most often?  The article was written by Brian Klems who is one of the editors at WD.  He was listing the pros and cons of writing in present tense and it got me thinking.

I had read a few articles/blog posts from other editors and authors who almost universally suggested that present tense was the way to go.  It lends and immediacy and in your face quality to the story and keeps it lively, or so the arguments went. It made sense to me at the time and I bought it wholeheartedly.  I even went back and am editing my novel, A Quarter Ton to Kona, rewriting it in present tense.

Klems' article got me thinking, though. Was this the right thing to do?  I'm not sure at the moment.  I'm just over halfway through the novel with the edit and its coming along slowly.  I don't think there should be a hard and fast rule about this.  Mixed tenses are great as they allow the author to bring in past events and manipulate time lines. I even think about the classic stories and fairy tales that start 'Once upon a time...' and realize that past tense is very useful in story telling.

So, I'm curious, when you write, what tense do you use?  Do you stick with one or do you use mixed tenses as appropriate to tell the story?  I would love to hear what you think!

Keep on writing.

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