1. seelifein69
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    seelifein69 Active Member

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    Messing up my tenses.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by seelifein69, Jul 14, 2011.

    Ever since I could remember writing I always messed up past tenses with present tenses.

    I will be writing in past tense and then all of a sudden I get into the character's mind and instead of 'he jumped' he is 'jumping'.

    Or writing in a first person present tense I find myself drifting back to thing's I've DONE instead of things I'm DOING.

    I usually catch mistakes but sometimes I don't because it sounds right to me.

    Don't know if there's any trick to fixing this.

    I love to write but I hate sounding uneducated. Must I just keep editing myself?

    Rawr
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Just keep editing to fix the problem when it occurs. Over time you will become more and more adept at recognizing the problem right when it happens, or even avoiding it all together. I think you'll see that as you move forward you don't have nearly as much problem with it as you do now.
     
  3. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Afraid so, editing and rewriting is part of being a writer.
     
  4. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do this all the time and it is just a case of editing and rewriting. You'll get better at noticing when you've mixed up your tenses after a while. Also, it might help to refresh yourself on the different tenses even if you do know them.
     
  5. seelifein69
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    seelifein69 Active Member

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    It bothers the hell out of me but we're human, eh?
    I usually reread my writing at least 6 times all the way through.
    Editing is the power of the writer though. :]

    Thanks guys & gals.
     
  6. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    Could it be that you are having trouble distinguishing past perfect tense versus past perfect progressive tenses and so forth?

    "He is jumping" wouldn't work, but "he was jumping" could work.
     
  7. seelifein69
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    seelifein69 Active Member

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    yeah that's exactly what is happening.
     
  8. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see this all the time in material presented to me for editing - and I always cringe. So I'd just like to say that you are way ahead of the field. YOU, at least, recognize the problem and are taking steps to correct it as you go and before you consider submitting to an agent.

    What's that old line? "The first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem"? Take heart.
     
  9. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Hi I'm Severin and I have a tense problem.
    I had gone several hours without writing a tense flipping paragraph.:p

    When I post parts of my work, that is commonly the first problem noted.
    I do notice it more now. So focusing on the problem will help to prevent or catch the problem in one or two edits.

    I have edited tense problems, I am editing tense problems, I will edit tense problems in the future.

    Tense problems make alot of people tense.
     
  10. Lost_in_Thought
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    Lost_in_Thought Member

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    My problem with past and present tense is that at the moment I can't even write in past tense. For the past year I've written all my stories in present tense because I wanted to work on improving that. But now I can only write in present tense (at the end of the year my teacher was annoyed with me becuse everyone else would write in past tense and I wouldn't and she found it hard to read a bunch of past tense stories then come to mine which was present tense)So anyways,it's easier for you to write in one tense if you read more book in the tense you want to write in and focas on one tense in other short stories for while. Its hard to go back and forth with your stories.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    for some reason I have found the same problem in ONE of my ms's, not the others. I wrote it in first person, while the others were in third person pov. always past tense (don't know the exact definition in english). While in this one I keep mixing present and past tense... aarrggghh. I think it might be something that is more likely to happen in first person pov.
     

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