Saturday, 11 September 2010

Past or Present?

I've just read this article, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/7994914/Philip-Pullman-and-Philip-Hensher-criticise-Booker-Prize-for-including-present-tense-novels.html

I don't know where to begin... yes, I do - I write in present tense.

I don't do it because it's fashionable, I don't do it because other people are doing it. My first published story in 1994 was in present tense and it's how I feel most comfortable writing; it's not a conscious decision, anymore than the voice that emerges. I haven't eshued past tense - although I can't think of an example right now, I'm sure I have used it in the past (excuse the pun) and I'm sure for those stories it felt entirely natural.

I find the present tense adds urgency, a sense of foreboding (which creeps into my writing quite a lot) and draws the reader in.

When I am reading, I certainly don't notice the use of present tense as a device; I don't notice it at all. I am usually captured by the story. The style adds to the whole experience, indeed; but if it jars as much as Philip Pullman suggests, he's obviously not reading a novel that is truly engaging him.

(Apologies for still not knowing how to do the linky thing properly)

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