1. XtremeOne1

    XtremeOne1 New Member

    Apr 30, 2013
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    Writing Past or Present Tense

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by XtremeOne1, Apr 30, 2013.

    I'm struggling badly with a decision on what to do about my tenses.

    I use to write ONLY in first person, past tense...It was just what came natural to me. I write a series for a website and for the past three seasons, it's been told in first person, past.

    But now that I'm in season four, as my characters reach their Senior Year of high school and deal with a prophecy, I've switched to present tense. It just seemed natural to me as the whole of the fourth season is about the future and the fear it brings. The characters are constantly wondering, "What's next?"

    That's why I feel present tense works. It allows characters to have true uncertainty. To be fair, even when I wrote in first person, past, I liked to think that my characters weren't actually telling "from the future", I didn't imagine them sitting in an arm chair, telling their grandkids a tale. I tried to keep it very ambiguous. I never like when a first person, past tense narrator mentions I'd later learn." or "Years later I'd come to realize..." it takes me out of the story. I want to always be kept in the "now" of the narrative(I include flashbacks in this)...

    So what does everyone think about killing off a PoV character in first person, past tense? I'll have multiple PoVs, so it isn't like I can't kill them off through another PoV, but would that work? And would audiences feel the danger?

    What about if a character's family member dies, should that affect the storytelling and the views on THAT character?

    How do you feel about characters who narrate in past tense but still don't know the future? Basically to me, it's as if they're telling the story at the end of the day or maybe even two minutes after it happened.

    One idea I have was to tell the story in three PoVs in two tenses..PRESENT from the children, PAST from the mother..but then it became tricky when I decided I wanted the mother's PoV to at least be involved somewhat in the present(at least in concern to the death...)...

    It's funny, I never use to think about past/present...but now I'm constantly debating it. And I think I'm sort of scared of past tense now since I haven't written in it in well over a year..plus the last THREE books I've read all happened to be(completely coincidence!) in present tense. It sort of scares me to go back to it haha...I'm worried I've forgotten how!

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