In the now or in the past???

So I’m having one of those writing dilemmas right now. If you’ve read my prologue to Billow, then you may have noticed that I pretty much wrote in the present tense (I didn’t edit it too much yet, so there might be some errors).

I’m just not sure how I feel about that. My other chapters are in the past tense, but I kind of like the feeling of the present. Its difficult to choose which one I should run with, because there seems to be this big debate on if present tense novels are as “accepted” as past tense ones with agents.

I enjoy the present tense because I feel as if I’m experiencing everything at the same time as the character is. With past tense ones I’m more listening to the recounting of what happened. I think the present tense allows readers (well, me in particular) to connect with the character and feel like you’re right there alongside them.

Most of my other chapters are written in the past tense as of right now, but I think over the weekend I might re-write one in the present to see if it changes things. I want to engage my readers. I want them to want more. I don’t want my novel to feel like another YA book. How am I supposed to make myself stand out? If done correctly, I think the present tense is powerful and engaging. Done wrong and it sounds awkward and almost uncomfortable. I worry that if I don’t do it right my novel will give people the “no feeling”. I alos worry that if I don’t do it right agents will be turned off. That’s a lot of worrying! I kind of fel like all that is going to sway me to stick to what I normally do, the past tense… But am I up for the challenge?

To all my writer friends, what tense do you feel more comfortable writing in? Do you think that writing in the present tense could hinder the possibility of getting your book signed to an agent?

Another day, another chapter…


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