Is there a good explanation to learn the "literary" tenses? That is, do you use past or present tense to describe events? More than that, there are actually different tenses involved even though it mostly looks like the past tense. What are those? Consider a sentence like "The computer was a comparatively simple design." That might appear in a narrative in which the action is written in present tense. It doesn't mean that the computer was simple (only) before the story takes place. So what is it? Describing a scene in present tense sounds odd. But three paragraphs setting the scene using "X was here, Y was there" makes a contrast to the subsequent action, where "MC trips over X". Another example, "Bill was worried. He looked out the window and ..." What are the principles involved here?