WritingWednesday for April 17, 2013

Until recently, most novels were written in past tense. It was the way of the storyteller, the scop, the bard—to recite a story that has already happened. Early fiction authors drew from such heritage, writing novels as if the stories had already happened. In recent years, novels and short stories, both literary and mainstream, have eschewed the past tense in favor of the present tense. Is present tense fiction a fad? Is past tense the best way to tell a story? Can past and present tenses be mixed within the same story? We’ll discuss these and other craft concerns in WednesdayWriting.

Resource links to verb tenses and preferential uses:

The Editor’s Blog: Narrative Tense, Right Now or Way Back Then

Grammar Girl: Present Tenses

House of Verbs: Past, Present and Future Walk into a Bar

Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Verb Tense Consistency

Indiana University of Pennsylvania Writing Center: Shifty Tenses

Grossmont College: Verb Tenses in Creative Writing

Salon: The Fierce Fight Over the Present Tense

The Guardian: Philip Pullman Calls Time on the Present Tense

The Horn Book: Present Tenses, or It’s All Happening Now