Writing Tip: Watch Your Tenses
We often change tenses unconsciously when we’re speaking. We can switch from one to another with ease in a conversation, and the tense change doesn’t matter. It therefore isn’t uncommon for us to also move between tenses when we’re writing, although it’s more important if we want to maintain the flow of our work. It can be frustrating to see that something we have started to write includes a combination of tenses, which can throw the audience off the focus of our piece.
Let’s look at an example:
Sheila reached up and took the large book from the shelf, then flicked it open and began to read. Her fingers followed the text across the page, her whole face a picture of concentration. The story is captivating and she longs to share it with all of her friends.
As you can see, the final sentence is in the present tense, rather than in past tense like the rest of the paragraph. This is something you can to avoid when you’re writing. A good way to do this is to decide on a tense before you start writing. If you find yourself moving between tenses often, you will need to focus on being consistent. Practice by writing a few short stories in various tenses to ensure you are maintaining the same tense throughout.
Written By: Laura Marie Clark
About the Author
Laura is a 23 year old English woman with a history degree residing in the UK. She has been writing for many years and enjoys writing horror/fantasy stories, as well as poetry. You can view more of her work at: https://inspiredstoriesandpoems.wordpress.com/
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Categories: Writing Tips