I’m a writer blog

Guidelines for writing Poems, Stories and Tales

Past vs. present tense when referring to a fictional character

When referring to fiction you should use present tense?

Therefore, when you write about writers or artists as they express themselves in their work, use the present tense. The Basic Rule: You should use the past tense when discussing historical events, and you should use the literary present when discussing fictional events. 1.

Is it better to write fiction in past or present tense?

Past tense is by far the most common tense, whether you’re writing a fictional novel or a nonfiction newspaper article. If you can’t decide which tense you should use in your novel, you should probably write it in past tense. There are many reasons past tense is the standard for novels.

Should a character description be in the past or present tense?

You can use either. It really depends on whether your POV is relating to things that have happened or things that are happening. So past tense for giving backstory- present tense for current conversations/happenings. You can use either.

How do you reference fictional characters?

If the title of a work contains the name of a fictional character, style the name as a name and the title as a title (that is, in italics or quotation marks): Emma Woodhouse is the heroine of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case” is about a high school student named Paul.

Why do we use past tense in fiction?

Writing a story in past tense allows you to manipulate time, to reveal, and to conceal events. Past-tense fiction creates a more subtle kind of suspense where we may know the outcome of the story but we want to know how and why we ended up there. This is good for more cerebral, reflective characters.

How do you write fiction in present tense and first person?

Use the “I” to keep the pace and action moving forward.



Try not to let the first person narrator get bogged down by backstory or long descriptions, especially if you’re writing in the present tense. Keep the pace and action of the story moving forward. Focus on keeping your narrator in the action in every scene.

Is Twilight written in present tense?

Most of the narrative—Bella’s point of view, written in the first person past tense–focuses on her settling in. She’s the new girl in a small town of locals so this isn’t easy, but there’s not much drama in her day-to-day.

Why you shouldn’t write in present tense?

The present tense can diminish suspense.



Because present-tense narrators do not know what is going to happen, they are unable to create the kind of suspense that arises from knowledge of upcoming events.

Which tense is best for telling stories?

Past tense – ie, ‘he did, she went’ – is the most traditional way of telling a story. It’s the tense in which Beowulf and the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales are relayed to the reader, so it has a long and well-established pedigree.

Should you write a story in present tense?

Present tense has more “immediacy” than past tense.



But the immediacy of the present tense also allows us to convey a character’s change as it happens, not after the fact. In present tense, we are there with the narrator step by step as he changes, and hence the story’s climax can be both more immediate and intense.