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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Ariely 20
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Re: Present Tense and Writing Style

Post by Ariely 20 »

Reading in the present tense felt a bit odd and a little too personal at the beginning but I got used to it. The mixing of tenses though was not a problem. I am guilty of it.
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Post by ems1schafer »

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 definitely agree that switching to the past for situations like this would be preferable to me, both as a reader and a writer. The present tense can be great for an author to highlight the action of the moment, but I’m sure it felt tedious to the author when trying to speed up the pace of the novel/skip over time because the present tense is really only meant to describe right now. This could be used well as a figurative device to illustrate how drawn out a certain moment can seem, by having lengthier passages about the intense, seemingly longer/“slow motion” moments and using more brevity on the surface events, but that only works to some extent. I think in this case it would be more appropriate to mix the tenses *gasp* because it would sound better to switch to the past for awhile and maintain a more natural tone than to struggle to keep it in present and end up with an awkward passage like this.
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GPM
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Post by GPM »

LinaMueller wrote: 10 Mar 2020, 13:01 It depend on the book and the author. I'm not narrow minded in this respect.
Same :)
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Post by JKO »

For me, i enjoyed it. Not all authors have the ability to switch tenses effectively. This author did so with a touch of class. Great stuff!
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Post by Coud »

Is not something that bothers me but is definitely something that requires some getting used to. And after a while you don't even notice anymore and you just enjoy the book
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Post by NatRose »

Present tense in novels doesn't bother me all that much, but I am a bit jarred at times by books written from an all-knowing narrator's perspective like this one was. (For example, we would directly be told both Adam and Carly's feelings in the same scene.) I think this my issue with this POV is both because I'm not used to it and because I get more out of a book if I feel like I'm having the same experience that a character is. Still, I recognize that this is just a personal preference and that an all-knowing POV can be used skillfully and effectively.
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Post by Netvigator72 »

Books in which the tense changes is definitely not my cup of tea but certain books in the present tense somehow make me feel like I’m part of the plot.
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Post by Kishor Rao »

I hardly notice such things when I'm reading a book so I was not distracted by that.
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Post by Chanda Chema »

It takes a good author to write in present tense and capture the audience. This book was a success in that aspect. It's just that we get used to third person narrations and embrace that more.
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Post by Josep22 »

I hate it when people write in the present tense and therefore did not like this aspect of the book. This specific one, however, wasn't as confusing as they normally are.
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Post by Jajachris »

I noticed the mixing of tenses too but It didn't bother me. It can be difficult to keep up with the tenses when writing but I think the author will see the reviews and do better in subsequent times
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Post by edztan15 »

I actually didn't give much thought on the tenses of the narration on the books that I read. However, there were books that just felt awkward to me writing-wise. I wasn't able to pinpoint exactly the reason for this but later on, I discovered that those books were written in present tense.
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Post by Estrellah254 »

Mixing tenses is alright if it is done correctly. It also depends on the book.
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Post by Rosemary Wright »

I enjoy both, whether written in present or past tense. All I require is consistency. Actually, there are some plots that read better in either of them. It depends on the genre, sometimes.
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Post by AmyMarie2171 »

I certainly think that writing in the present tense in this instance was intentional. This technique is used to add urgency to a story, so that everything is happening in the heat of the moment, and I really think that this book benefits from it.
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