Several months ago I wrote “Present Tense: Breathlessly Waiting to Read About What’s Already Happened,” in which I posited that writing in present tense is difficult for most writers to do effectively. Two fellow bloggers commented that they felt their stories worked best using present tense, and I invited each of them to write a guest blog about this to share with us.
Last month I wrote about why I believe writing in the present tense is problematic for many writers. Today’s guest blog is from talented author C. B. Wentworth, who confidently uses the present tense in her writing. I asked her to share her thoughts on the subject, and she graciously agreed to do so. Be sure to visit her blog at http://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/ for some wonderful posts on a variety of subjects.
As an editor, I’ve made no bones about my preference for past tense in both fiction and memoir writing. And I know I’m not alone. Yet there seems to be a movement toward writing in present tense, and there have been some passionate blogs written about the past versus present debate. In a blog titled “Does (or Did) Tense Matter?” D. Thomas Minton wrote:
“Stories in the present tense feel more urgent and immediate to me—I feel like I’m there with the characters, instead of listening to the story after-the-fact, while sitting in the cozy comfort of a coffee shop. In contrast, the temporal distance that comes with past tense removes this immediacy, but past tense is more conducive to reflection, as if the narrator has had a chance to digest what has happened to him or her prior to telling me.”