Monday, September 26, 2011

Are You Here Or Were You There?

Every book I've written so far has been in past tense. However, my shiny new project really screams to be written in present.

I'm going with it so far, but it's really been an interesting change. On one hand, it is very immersing. Everything is so, well...present. (Oh dear, I'm so so sorry for that.) I'm kind of loving it at the moment.

However, I've read books in present that I just couldn't get into. In some ways, it pulled me out of the story and actually had the opposite effect. I think it's hard to do it well, and I'm still working to figure out what went wrong with those stories.

So, here is my question for you, my brilliant friendlies: Which tense have you written in? Do you prefer one over the other? What strengths do you think each brings to the table? Do you prefer homestyle or curly fries? Chocolate Chip or Sugar Cookies? Do tell!


  1. I'm not a huge fan of present, but I have some favorites that are in present. I guess I just don't find many that really work for me. I'll bet you can pull it off, though!

    Curly fries


    ANY. I just LOVE fries.

    And cookies.

    Now I'm hungry!

  2. I am in the opposite boat! My first two projects were in the present and now I'm writing in the past. It is SO easy to slip back and forth and not even realize it. The you go back and edit and you still don't see it!

    Beta readers will be your best friends!

    Good luck!

  3. I think it's so hard writing present. But those who do it, do it well. :) I tend to write first person, past tense. :)

    And I love fries. All of them.

    I love chocolate chip, but I make a mean sugar cookie. Mmmm.... I may have to make cookies now! :D

  4. I enjoy writing present tense. It feels more intimate and authentic opposed to the disjointed feeling past tense can have. It is difficult to write, but when done right, there's no better tense!

  5. Fries. I like fries. I want fries. You have fries? GIVE ME FRIES.

  6. Seriously though, I've written in both, and I like both. Present tense in tough, but once you get into it, it's not so bad.

    After writing two books and two short stories in present, I actually struggled just a bit to go back to past tense for MW.

  7. I like a mix of both. I've been rather into the dual-pov lately, with one character past and one future. Not sure if it works well, but I like it!

    Curly fries and Chocolate chip cookies, please.

  8. I prefer reading and writing in past tense. I'll read books in present tense, but I find it often pulls me out of the story. I keep "noticing" the present tense of it all.

  9. My first book was written in first, but one day I got this idea to try present and ended up changing the whole book.

  10. I like it if done well. Sometimes I don't even notice it, like in Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution. But I DO dislike third person present tense. It's so hard to get into for me, and it just feels unnatural.

    Good luck with your WIP!

  11. Past. Present is so often done incorrectly and past seems to give a story more weight. Not that I haven't read some good present tense stories, but past feels more natural.

  12. I don't care how great the cover is, or how promising the blurb about the storyline is - if I open a book and it's written in present tense, I put it right back on the shelf never to be lifted again! The only thing worse is first-person present-tense: which just makes me want to shoot myself!

    I'm not opinionated about that subject, or anything.... LOL

  13. Right now I'm a fan of first person past. But that's probably just because it's what I'm working on.

  14. Past tense. And I have ketchup for those fries by the way...

  15. I've done both. I think present tense has pros and cons, one of the cons being that it can be jarring for some readers who are so used to reading books in the past tense. On the flip side, it can also be refreshing for similar reasons.

    I don't know what it takes to do it well or right, and I wish I could figure out what is wrong with those ones I don't love.

    But. Curly fries--with cheese, and oatmeal raisin cookies, because I like to be different. For the record.