"I hate past tense. That is all."
Of course, this started a pretty interesting discussion, which I'd like to continue here. But first take a look at what others had to say ...
Trisha Farnan: I am well out of the habit of writing in past tense, and yet my current CP seems to only like past tense. so it's interesting
Hart Johnson: Aren't we funny in our tenses. I really am not a fan of present. In fact I WON'T write in it, but really have to have a GREAT story to enjoy even reading it.
Author Jessica Bell: yeah, present tense is my favourite. When I write in past tense it feels like I'm rewriting something that has already been written. It loses its mystery ...
Stina Lindenblatt: I'm so used to writing in present tense, I'm not sure if I can write in past tense anymore.
Sarah Ahiers: whereas I hate writing in present tense. gross
Laurel Garver: I feel like I'm in a flashback when I write in past tense. I guess it's a matter of what you're used to.
Helena Halme: Me too, hate getting tangled up in all those pluperfects. Sometimes, though, it's unavailable.
Daniel Wynne: I love writing in first person present tense. Some people might see it as a bit overbearing, but I think it works for fast-paced and humorous stories (which most of mine are).
Roslyn Ross: I like past tense for its flexibility and deeper reflection. There is a limit to the Now for all sorts of reasons. Past and Future enable imagination to be completely at work in the literal and the metaphorical.
Dennis Higgins: As a writer of time-travel, tense is very important to me...or was...or will be.
Author Jessica Bell: Roslyn, I don't see how writing in the present tense means you can't deeply reflect on the past. There's nothing stopping a character reflecting on what they have done in the past just because the book is written in present tense.
Example from String Bridge: "Alex’s watered-down Greek accent is stifled by the filthy rugs we have yet to remove from the corridor for the approaching summer. His voice is smooth, deep, and gentle. Unlike mine, which will forever be polluted with a brutal Australian twang. Alex’s voice was the first thing I was drawn to when we met five years ago at my debut solo performance in this city. It was just me, my voice and my guitar, battling the fear of laying my soul out for scrutiny, below the hot stage lights and in front of the quiet, unresponsive Greek crowd."
If anything, I think it's more natural this way. Then all the past simple doesn't have to turn into past perfect. If you write a book in the past tense, then when you reflect on the past within that story all the tenses go wild and it drives me bonkers. But that's just me
Roslyn Ross: I think the operative word Jessica was deeply, inferring a capacity for greater reflection than in the present, which is, by its nature, busy in the now. But I don't see it as important. Everyone writes differently and there is no wrong or right way. Compare Hemingway to Proust or Joyce - all very different from the average - and apart from Hemingway, would not be accepted by publisher or agent in this day and age, but all excellent writers.
Author Jessica Bell: I know what you mean, Roslyn. And I still think you can reach as "deeply" in present as you can in past.
Debbie Young: I write in both - sometimes present feels right for some stories/narrators, sometimes only past will do. Anyone ever written anything entirely in the future tense? Hadn't thought of doing that before! Might be interesting... Btw, sometimes I find reading a book that is written in the present is more tiring, maybe because I get more emotionally involved?
Author Jessica Bell: that could be so, Debbie!
Michael L Swift: I write in "Michael" tense. Just bring me another damn cup of coffee, dammit.But my most favourite comment, however, came from Heather Truett on Twitter:
I like writing what IS instead of what WAS ... [past tense] loses its immediacy. I like my reader to be with me, not in my memory.
What's your preference? Past or Present? Why? Also, has the tense used in a book ever effected your enjoyment of the read? Why?