Who is on the plum tree?
Oh! How this lady writes prose!
Choosing Your Tense: From Ever-once to Never-when
Walk inside me without silence,
Kill the past and change the tense.
Empty gnawing and the ache is soaring;
Take me places that make more sense.
― Melina Marchetta, The Piper’s Son
Albert Einstein said that “the distinction between the past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” And while he is no doubt right on a cosmic level – I would not dare challenge Einstein on a cosmic level! – every day we writers are faced with tense decisions which are far from illusory.
Before even setting pen to paper, we must choose between telling our story in the past or present tense, mindful of just how that choice will influence what is to come. I am omitting the future tense today as it’s virtually never used; it presents problems of divine omniscience that tie you in verbal knots and…
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