It turns out book tense? Gets people goin’! I never realized that some English readers have chosen teams, and are staunch defenders of their tense!
Most of the team is the Past Tensers. It’s sort of like when you played a team game in school, and one team got colored jerseys and the other team just wore their own gym clothes. One team yells “They had only liked reading in past tense!” and they run around all fleet and coordinated, smashing with precision through the other team’s defenses. The other team, however, is just sort of milling around going “to have, have, had, has had, will have had” like some sort of lost, bewildered-but-enchanted travelers in a foreign land.
I am the bewildered traveler, enthusiastically mucking up my “whens”, and tripping down paths just to see where they go.
This is, apparently, heresy.
I didn’t even know! You’re supposed to warn heretics before they go around, publishing books and whatall.
What I like about first person, present tense is its sense of immediacy and the intimacy with the character. I don’t think it works super well for all books–The Lord of the Rings is divine as is, thanks. Please do not go around changing how it happened. But sometimes, in some cases, it’s fun knowing that no one knows what’s about to happen, and watching them react real time. Past tense means time for reflection and self-editing. Present tense means “your guess is as good as mine, bub,” and we get to unravel it as the character does.
As The Other One likes to say, “there’s a vast difference between ‘and then everything went dark,’ and “and then everything goes dark.”
Personally, for me and my books, I like the second tension better. (The pun lands! Perfect routine!) I like that readers feel like Summer does, that “how did this happen!” is sort of a constant mantra in their/your heads as it is in Summer’s. It’s already working! I told my dad the plots of the next couple books and he went “why does everything happen to Lia!” and I was like…they really don’t. Summer sure as Hell thinks so though, so hooray! You believe that Summer is Truth. She’ll be so pleased.
What do you think? Are you Varsity or Latin Club? Do you like the tension of not knowing or does it, to quote another, “make your teeth itch?”
Jessica and Dante send pictures for a blog. They will see what happens next! They had no idea!