I love tenses. They were the thing I latched onto from my history major in undergrad—how to effectively and creatively use tense. Not a lot of opportunity for it in prose writing. I tried a lot of shifts in a short story to mixed response. The first novel has some layering, the second novel has some but a lot less. I love present tense in non-fiction. I don’t know if I like reading it in fiction, but I do love writing it. Present tense keeps the initial effort alive. Or at least gives the illusion of animation. It’s perpetual too. Maybe I need to try shifting the novel revision to a tense edit too. I’m just not sure it’s worth it. If it were my dream project, sure, I’d essentially recast the entire sixty thousand word thing in a second. But it’s not my dream project. It was a kitchen sink, mental attic cleaning project. Tinkering is a worse crime than revising.

Scroll to Top