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Thread: Feelings on Tense and POV?

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  1. #8
    I write at work... Girlsgottawrite's Avatar
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    Jul 2017
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    When you're using present tense, it's because the story needs it. Usually because of a sense of immediacy you don't get from past. It works well for books like Hunger Games because it makes the action sequences more visceral, but would probably be unnecessary for--say--a romance. The again, I know nothing about romance so that may be crappy example.

    To give an example from my own work, here is a section from my opening scene:

    There is a man standing at the end of my bed.
    He’s long and skeletal—scarecrow-like—raggedy suit dangling. Streams of pale moonlight smear his dark features like fingers across a wet canvas. I can’t breathe, can’t move. There’s a weight on my chest. It holds me down.


    I had never used present tense before this, but this opening scene wouldn't have had half the impact in past. In present tense, you don't necessarily know if the POV is going to actually make it.

    Imagine it this way instead:

    There was a man standing at the end of my bed.
    He was long and skeletal—scarecrow-like—raggedy suit dangling. Streams of pale moonlight smeared his dark features like fingers across a wet canvas. I couldn't breathe, couldn't move. There was a weight on my chest. It held me down.


    It's just better in present.

    If you are writing in present because it works better, then do it. If not, then I recommend you stick with past since it's the standard. You'll get the hang of it.

    Hope that helps!
    Courtney
    Last edited by Girlsgottawrite; 11-08-2019 at 10:57 PM.

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