Resources for Writers
Taking the Tension Out of Tenses by Paul Anthony Shortt
Not many first-time authors pay much consideration to deciding what tense to write in. Exactly which tense an author feels most familiar with will largely depend on the books they read growing up. Those of my generation, who were teenagers in the 90s, are likely to have grown up reading books written in the past tense, whether first-person or third-person perspective. But lately, particularly in Young Adult books, present tense has become very popular. While present tense is usually written in the first-person perspective, there are some authors, such as Chuck Wendig, who write in third-person present tense.
It’s important to assess all of your decisions as an author, and this goes for tense and point of view too. If you’ve grown up thinking about writing as a past-tense thing, would trying present-tense help challenge you and broaden your skill?
Here are some links tacking the various advantages and disadvantages of the different tenses available:
1: Why Use Past Tense – Ava Jae looks at the traditional past-tense, and examines its strong points as well as its pitfalls.
2: The Pros and Cons of Writing a Novel in Present Tense – Writer’s Digest explores the benefits and challenges of the present tense, and stresses the importance of choosing the tense, not because it’s popular, but because it is genuinely the best fit for your book.
3: Advantages of Third Person Point of View – Novel Writing Help presents the ways in which the third person perspective can help your book, depending on the feel you want to evoke within your reader.
4: Advantages of First Person Point of View – Staying with Novel Writing Help, we now look at what you can achieve using the first person perspective.
Hopefully these articles will help steer you to the tense and perspective choice that are the best fit for you. As always, good luck!
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt
Paul Anthony Shortt believes in magic and monsters; in ghosts and fairies, the creatures that lurk under the bed and inside the closet. The things that live in the dark, and the heroes who stand against them. Above all, he believes that stories have the power to change the world, and the most important stories are the ones which show that monsters can be beaten.