Present Tense VS Past Tense

25 Jul

Deciding to write a story in a certain tense may not seem that important. In fact, some writers probably don’t even think about it and just write. The thing is, the tense of a story is very important and can contribute a great deal to the overall story.

I never really thought about tense either, most books I read were in past tense so I was used to that and considered it the ‘standard’ tense. It wasn’t until I started writing the story I’m working on now, that I discovered the magic of the present tense. It seemed fitting because that tense allows you to be right there with that character to experience it, kind of like a film where everything is happening (seemingly) RIGHT NOW (since nobody is narrating it in past tense). The story is about a girl with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder; so multiple personalities) though she doesn’t realise she suffers from this at first. The personal journey of the girl is most important here. There are discoveries to be made and the reader will only learn them through her, so the ‘current vibe’ is very relevant. As soon as I started writing in present tense I knew it fitted this story like a doll’s dress does a ferret. *collective eyebrow raising* Well, you know what I mean.

The thing is, you shouldn’t write a story in present tense because you appreciate that tense, you should do it because it fits the story. The story decides the tense. And who knows your story better than you?



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