Narration: Time

or When a Story is Told

PAST:

The Past Tense is the most common in storytelling. It describes the story and the events from a point in the past.

The past tense is simple yet complicated. It can cause problems with writers that can’t use all the past tenses.

On the other hand, it is something the reader expects to see in a story, which makes it invisible. Sometimes when a story has a format that is too weird, it can take the reader out of it. So Past Tense Narration is a safe bet, because it is what readers are used to, what they have seen time and time again.

Great with character backstories and building tension and conflict, the past tense is an easy go-to for most writers, no matter the Point of View or the Voice.

PRESENT:

The second most common tense in storytelling, the Present Tense is simple and uncomplicated. Everything that happens, happens now, in the moment and the Narrator is the vessel through which the reader experiences everything. It is spontaneous, and most times it’s used with the First Person PoV. It is intimate and can be fast-paced.

But the Present Tense can be tricky because it doesn’t fall back on other tenses, so sometimes it can be difficult to convey conflict and tension. Many writers fall into the trap of adding trivial little details and happenings in their story, just because the Present Tense allows it.

FUTURE:

The least used tenses for Narration, are the Future Tenses. The events are happening at some point in the future and the story takes an almost prophetic tone.

~Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

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