1. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    tense

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by PBrady, Jan 14, 2014.

    Perhaps I am just paying more attention than I normally do to the mechanics of what I m reading. Currently I am reading Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I have been struck by the fact that she uses all the tenses. One section uses present and future.
    I am sure I have read books like this before and just not noticed it. The manner in which she shifts tense and narration point is very interesting.
    I also noticed that she uses say/said a lot in an almost deliberate attempt to go against all the advice I was ever given.

    Any other books that shift tense in consecutive paragraphs?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Not in consecutive paragraphs, but A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham does shift from present to past in the very beginning of those chapters wherein characters are first introduced. It's present for a paragraph or so and then slides into past. The effect is almost like presenting the character to you in real time, like an introduction, and then sliding to the tense of the actual story telling.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think some of Jose Saramago's books change tense between paragraphs, but I could be wrong. I can't think of anyone else who does this. It's a rare technique, and it looks like Mantel is one of those few authors who use it.

    On a side note, I'm sure there are experimentalist writers out there who change tenses in the same sentence.
     
  4. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    Have sat down and done a bit of analysis. She is mostly favouring present tense third person. Much of it reads like screenplay but with so much more detail.

    It's her way of slipping into future tense at the beginning of some paragraphs that is intriguing.

    Not sure she counts as experimental. Think she is quite mainstream.
     

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