View Full Version : Tense Change Within Thoughts

03-24-2007, 11:09 PM
What are your thoughts on tense changes within thoughts? Is there a rule? This is an example, but not from my own writing.

"He had completely forgotten about the earlier events of the day. Was he here? How did he find me? She never saw him, but he was standing right there. What is going on, have I lost my mind? "

The switch jarred on me and my instinct is to place all the thoughts in past tense.

03-24-2007, 11:16 PM
Within exposition, I wouldn't like it.

In thoughts or dialogue, I reckon anything goes. After all, we don't think or speak in perfect Queen's English, do we? Thoughts and speech are often grammatically incorrect.

03-24-2007, 11:43 PM
I agree with everything Scarlet said, with one caveat: if the narrative voice is tense-shifting on purpose, then I'd be cool with it in exposition, too.

Maryn, who's cool with a lot of stuff that's officially wrong