Thursday, March 08, 2007
It's a Tense Situation
My writing group got on the subject of "tense" the other night. I was talking about the piece I'm working on in present tense, and was mentioning some of the strengths and weaknesses of it that I was finding. One of our members, Laura Joh Rowland, pointed out some interesting things. She said that when she was feeling her way through a scene that she'd not previously planned out that she typically wrote in present tense, because to her it was "happening now." I realized that I often did the same thing when talking out a scene in my head. As I'm creating a scene I typically think about it in present tense, then I write it in past tense as I describe on the page what I've already seen. Also, Laura pointed out that we often tell stories verbally to people in the present tense. I don't know what all this means, for sure, but it got me to thinking. I do know there's a lot more to be discussed on the issue of tense. It's not just another word for stressed.