Past Or Present?

Past Or Present?

Most fiction I have read is written in past tense. However, more and more authors I hear about are writing in present tense. As a result, I am at a bit of an impasse in my own works. While most of my writing has been done in past tense, I find myself drawn to living in the present. To me, it feels more active and perhaps as if my readers and I are living more in the moment. This seems preferable than dwelling in the past. At the same time, I have seen a fair number of readers turn their noses up at this practice.

What do you think? Is it possible to write a real page turner in present tense or is past tense the only way to go?

The Pros And Cons Of Writing In Present Tense

To every choice, there are pros as well as cons. We see this in the selection of Point of View. This is something we can also see in the application of past or present tense. Considering that present tense is a fresher trend,  I examine what is being said by authors, publishers, and the like so as to get a broader grasp on the responses had to this particular writing style.

The Pros

  • Readers are able to experience the action within the pages as if it is happening right that very moment.
  • Reflects the characters nature
  • Simplifies the use of tenses in your work
  • Works the overall theme of the work
  • Makes for a great way to illustrate a character with a disoriented mind

The Cons

  • Restricts ability to manipulate time
  • Can diminish suspense
  • Presents more of a challenge in the creation of complex characters

Living in the present does present a few challenges in terms of writing. It is up to you, the reader, and perhaps even the writer to determine if you enjoy the way the story is presented. Does it engage you? Is it relatable? Are the characters loveable, reliable, even ones you despise?

Helpful Links and Resources

Writer’s Digest: The Pros and Cons of Writing Present Tense

Thanet Writers: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Writing Present Tense

Self Publishing Advice Center: Writing Past Or Present Tense?


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