Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A problem with tenses

English teachers have rules about writing prose. Don't start a sentence with And, Or, Not, But... don't use Said, use a wide array of other words you discovered under the Said section of Roget's Thesaurus. There were probably more, but I don't remember them. As soon as you start to read contemporary novels and short stories, and in my case write them, you realise that the form, the flow and the rhythm are - in my opinion - more important than trying to swim through lots of clunky verbs.

The rules, therefore, are made to be broken! Yay for that!!

However, there is one rule that probably does hold true. And that is the problem I'm having at the moment. After my recent bout of writer's block, the words are flowing once more. But I am mixing my tenses and can't work out how to solve the problem. It's not just that I'll write one day in present, then come back to it the next and start in past tense. I'm doing it within the same paragraph, in the same minute of the same day.

Each sentence is so complete and so perfect in whichever tense I've used that to change them to conform to the sentences around them would ruin the image they are conveying.

I'd love to think that writing this way would be ground-breaking and inventive and experimental... but I fear it's just one broken rule too far.

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