1. Katie Dugan

    Katie Dugan New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    California

    Tense issue with first sentence of book?!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Katie Dugan, Jun 22, 2020.

    Hi! So, I've been sending out query letters and recently I noticed something big. My very first line is in present tense. The rest of the novel is in past tense.

    This is the first two lines: Today marks one year since the death of simple life. One year since the council called for a state of emergency town meeting: The wall had been breached.

    I really like the way it sounds, but I know it can't stay that way for tense reasons, ugh. Does anyone have any ways to reword that first line to make it sound just as good without being present? or is there anyway it somehow works, LOL. Thanks. :)
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Messages:
    5,392
    Likes Received:
    6,229
    Location:
    The White Rose county, UK
    Does the rest of chapter 1 take place "today"?

    I don't see a huge problem with it. Today can still be in the past.

    "Today I went shopping." - I went shopping at some point earlier today.
     
  3. Katie Dugan

    Katie Dugan New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    California
    That's true! The rest of the chapter does take place "today." Thanks for the insight :)
     
  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    6,122
    Likes Received:
    7,494
    You just have to change "marks" to "marked." Then it works and is all in past tense.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  5. GraceLikePain

    GraceLikePain Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2020
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    506
    To be honest, I think it's fine the way it is. It sounds almost speechlike, and a person would say "Today marks one year..." I don't really see the problem.
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    6,122
    Likes Received:
    7,494
    The problem would be the tense in not consistent.That's kind of important. Sure, the sentence is fine, but when the OP is trying to write in past tense it does stand out and not in a way they seems intentional when you look at the whole example.
     
  7. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    9,502
    Likes Received:
    9,758
    Location:
    England
    ‘Today marked one year since...’ sounds like even more of a contradiction to me. You have a past tense word immediately following, and referencing, a present tense word.

    I avoid the use of words such as ‘now’ or ‘today’ when writing in present tense.

    I’d go with something like: One year ago signalled the death of simple life...
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
    Oscar Leigh likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice