Present Tense and Writing Style

Use this forum to discuss the February 2020 Book of the month, "Opaque" by Calix Leigh-Reign
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AlexisLib
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Present Tense and Writing Style

Post by AlexisLib »

What did you think about the use of the present tense? I know people who won't read books written in the present tense because they just don't like it, they find it jarring. I sometimes find it jarring but have also gotten used to it, having read books written that way a number of times. I actually found this to add to the uncomfortableness of reading the book in the beginning; it kind of poked at me as I experienced what Adam was doing, then I got mostly used to it.

The author also sometimes mixes the present tense with past tense, even in the same sentence. I am a writer and have been in many critique groups and this mixing of tense would be considered a big no no. So I wondered as I read it whether this was intentional or not. It made me wonder (along with some other phrases) if English wasn't the author's first language. Was it intentional and poetic, or sloppy writing?
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Post by moomawpw »

I sure hope mixing tenses isn't too big a nono. Did in my last book, The Contractor. Did it for a specific reason. It seemed to work. At least nobody complained.
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Post by amihughson »

It might be a big no-no but it didn't bother me. I felt that it contributed to the overall "voice" of the author.
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Post by LinaMueller »

It depend on the book and the author. I'm not narrow minded in this respect.
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Post by FelDee »

I noticed the mixing of the present and past tense as well. I think the reason people don't like present tense writing because it's very hard to write in for a novel. I think it's because it's because a story is never told to someone while it's happening, but after. This might be why our minds are better wired for a story written in the past tense, it's just a thought.
As for me, I am not really jarred by it when done well.
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Post by Reina275 »

It bothered me a little, but mostly because is not my first language and had me confused several times. Anyways it was a different style of narration and is as good as any other.
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Post by Delaney35 »

moomawpw wrote: 07 Mar 2020, 17:26 I sure hope mixing tenses isn't too big a nono. Did in my last book, The Contractor. Did it for a specific reason. It seemed to work. At least nobody complained.
I think mixing tenses is fine as long as it is done for a reason. If there is a purpose behind it, then most anything is fine.
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Post by Delaney35 »

Reina275 wrote: 12 Mar 2020, 18:43 It bothered me a little, but mostly because is not my first language and had me confused several times. Anyways it was a different style of narration and is as good as any other.
I can see how that would make it more confusing. It did take a little bit of getting used to while I was reading.
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Post by Kansas City Teacher »

LinaMueller wrote: 10 Mar 2020, 13:01 It depend on the book and the author. I'm not narrow minded in this respect.
Well said! I agree it has to depend on the book. Ordinarily, it would be quite confusing, but here it works.
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Post by Vivianne Nat »

Well, i believe that authors have different writing styles and that we need to respect the way they want their books or their stories to come out.

I have observed a lot of people though disliking the mixing of the tenses. But if it helps and it makes more sense to do so then there is nothing wrong with it.
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Post by Odette Chace »

For the most part, I didn't mind the present tense until there were time periods the author skipped over and then tried to summarize what happened in the interim and the present tense did not work in that part at all. It made the summary read like an outline for chapters the author wanted to write but never got around to. A good example of this is the beginning of chapter 7. "Time's escaping her far too swiftly. She's spent every waking moment with Adam during school, and every weekend. He's even joined in her morning jogs. Their bond grew more quickly..."
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Post by Amanda Newton »

The mixing of tenses doesn't bother me if done well. It was a bit odd to get used to reading in present tense a lot of the time, but I adjusted
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Post by La Loca Designs »

Odette Chace wrote: 15 Mar 2020, 14:57 For the most part, I didn't mind the present tense until there were time periods the author skipped over and then tried to summarize what happened in the interim and the present tense did not work in that part at all. It made the summary read like an outline for chapters the author wanted to write but never got around to. A good example of this is the beginning of chapter 7. "Time's escaping her far too swiftly. She's spent every waking moment with Adam during school, and every weekend. He's even joined in her morning jogs. Their bond grew more quickly..."
I completely agree. I really disliked the parts where the author summarized like that.
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Post by Bookreviwer2020 »

I think that it does help set the scene and support the feel of the book at times. For example, when someone is doing something and they remember something. This makes us identify with Adam more in this case I guess
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Post by Gifted Soul »

I haven't come across a book written in past tense- maybe I certainly will after spending sometime in the OBC. It definitely would feel awkward for me.
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