In recent months I have become more cognizant of TENSE in my writing.
When I write screenplays, whether they’re shorts or feature length projects, they are always written in present tense. There are no choices. The reason for this is the screenplay is a blueprint for what a director will work with when he films a movie. And, what you see on the screen, is always happening in “present tense.” It is what is happening at that moment in time.
Now, with novels, the writer has choices. A novelist can write in future, past, or present tense.
This difference can cause problems.
For example, I recently wrote a one-page script for a challenge at MoviePoet.com. A few days after I wrote it, I went back for a reread and edit and found some “past tense” in the script. It was an easy fix but something I need to be aware of while I’m writing.
The problem was, when I wrote the one-page script I was also working on a novel. And, if I’m working on two projects, one written mostly in past tense and another written in present tense, it is sometimes difficult to make the “transition” between projects.
I’m in the midst of writing Finding Verity. Like many novels, it is written in past tense. But this particular project has a boatload of “tense” challenges. Much of the story takes place in the present but the character is thinking about or telling us something about the past. When the narrator or character quotes (in the present) verbatim something that happened in the past the challenge grows.
Tense. Become aware. It can sometimes cause the writer confusion! And if the writer gets confused, believe me, the reader will be confused, too!
Writing on Ancient Carved Stone