Asked by: Rene Bork
Should fiction be written in past or present tense?
Past tense is the default setting for most genre fiction. As the simple past tense is traditionally used for storytelling, it presents fewer challenges to the reader, who doesn’t notice the tense that is being used and is immediately immersed in the world of the story.
Can you write a novel in first person present tense?
Writing in the first person present or third-person present is an effective way to create a narrative that feels as though it’s happening in the present.
What tense is most fiction written in?
The past tense is the choice of most contemporary commercial fiction writers. What’s interesting is that readers are so used to this style that they can still immerse themselves in a past-tense narrative as though the story is unfolding now.
Is it OK to switch tenses in a novel?
You can switch tenses between sections or chapters
Readers aren’t confused by this, they don’t resent you for it and they don’t issue you a rules-of-writing demerit. Writers often change tenses as part of a predictable pattern, for example, alternating one section at a time between present and past tense narration.
Can you mix past and present tense in a story?
It is not advisable to mix past and present tense in a story. It is good practice to avoid switching tenses during a scene or within the same paragraph unless doing so is essential for clarity. Switching tenses can be jarring to the reader and make the story hard to follow.
Why do authors switch from past to present tense?
Most writers, it seems, prefer one tense over another. Many of us use the past tense as our default, as it allows for foreshadowing, and, conversely, it allows reflection from the present “telling” moment. We’re telling a story of which we know the narrative arc and, therefore, it happened in the past.
Which tense is used in story writing?
You can use either present or past tense for telling your stories. The present tense is often associated with literary fiction, short stories, students in writing programs and workshops, and first novels. The past tense is used in most genre novels.