Which Do You Prefer for Reading and Writing – Past or Present Tense?

Debbie Young's Writing Life

(Drawing attention to my latest post on the Alliance of Independent Authors’ self-publishing advice blog)

Cover of Quck Change flash fiction collection My butterfly sits on the fence, with 10 stories written in the past tense, 10 in the present

While writing a novel during NaNoWriMo, as mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been considering an important question for authors and readers alike: which tense works best in fiction?

Modern authors often choose the present tense to add edginess and immediacy to a story, but the more traditional use of past tense is generally better loved by big publishing companies, who are increasingly risk averse for financial reasons.Tales abound of authors instructed by commercial publishers to rewrite an entire book to change the tense from present to past, before thy’ll consider publishing it.

The Influence of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing liberates authors from unwanted intervention from conservative publishing companies, making readers the ultimate arbiters of whether a book…

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