1. aoibhneas
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    aoibhneas Member

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    Why do I keep slipping into present tense?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by aoibhneas, May 11, 2009.

    Exactly what it says on the tin.

    Every now and then, when I change scene, I'll write the odd one in present tense, without thinking.
    Why does this happen? It's just happened again and I've had to peruse the paragraph and change all the tenses.
    It's wrecking my head a bit but I'm more curious as to why it slips in occasionally, subconsciously.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Cuz its the best tense there is? (Yes, tenses have fanboys. I am proof.)
    I do that sometimes, I usually just put it down to me being so accustomed to writing and reading so much in 1st Person Present that its become my natural thing. I'll be going aong and all of a sudden realise I'm saying "I" and "my" instead of "he" and "his". But yeah, no big problem, just go back and correct it. Unless it sounds better in the wrong tense. Then change everything else instead.
     
  3. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Your focus may be split between what you're actually writing and what you're seeing in your mind's eye. It's not so unusual. All you really need to do is see it as already happened before you've begun your session. I know, easier said than done, but it might be worth trying. On the other hand, if doing so results in your imaginative flow being stifled, why not just write it as it comes, as your first draft, and return to fix it in your rewrite? Whatever you choose, the main thing is to be writing. Good luck with it. :)
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It sounds like you are thinking in present tense and making an effort to pen in past tense.

    Writing in past tense IS the way to go (yeah, arron, I hear you, but seriously, present tense is almost always a poor choice for fiction). But if you are vicariously living the story through your MC, youj probably will be thinking in present tense, especially when trying to match what your character is feeling.

    Try stepping back a little, and watch your character instead of being her. It will probably also help you show instead of tell, because you will be more able to focus on the telltale outward signs of what the character is feeling instead of the feelings themselves.
     
  5. aoibhneas
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    aoibhneas Member

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    Doh! facepalm... I should've thought of that.
    Sounds like extra work... it's not a big problem though, it's only happened a couple of times. Like you said, I was visualising it as I wrote it.
    Very good advice, thank you so much for contributing. It actually has occured when I'm using 'show' and not when I've beeen writing descriptive narrative though. As cheeno correctly surmised, it was in the visualisation process that it occurred. This particular novel (?) is happening from 1st person POV and that's probably a factor. Another that I'm working on but have set aside for the moment is 3rd POV omniscient and I didn't have that problem at all.

    I would like to thank everyone for their valuable input. Happy scribbling to all!
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Probably because we talk in present tense.

    It usually happens to me if I am writing something a lot in the present tense, like a screenplay, which Maia is awesome at helping out with, and then switch to working on my novel.

    Try talking in the past tense in your head.
     
  7. tranquility
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    tranquility New Member

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    I don't see it as a big problem.... A little bit of focus when setting down your verbs will solve it.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't worry about tense when I am writing, I tend to go back over it afterwards and sort the tense out. I write in present tense, maybe try rewriting something in present tense maybe it will work lol.
     

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