In order for it to make sense to the reader, it should be presented in chronological order. Although this order is obvious, there may be times when it makes more sense to change things around. You may want to save an important detail until last for dramatic effect. For example, you may describe an amazing feat performed by someone, and at the very end you add the shocking news that the person was blind or in a wheelchair or wearing a full-body cast.
Well begun is half done Another change of order can be effective in order to create an effective beginning. You may want to describe the final results of the story first to get your reader's attention. Pick out a significant detail from the story and begin with it. Then return to the same idea at the end.
Make sure you vary the wording. Consider your audience Have a clear picture of your reader in mind. The knowledge and experience your target audience brings to the reading should influence your choice of words. Obviously, you would tell a story differently to a preschooler than you would to an engineer. But other audience differences are more subtle. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk Palahniuk is well-known for using first-person present in his writing, and the style suits him well.
In this extract he almost jumps from past to future, yet maintains present tense overall as the story is unfolding whilst he writes it. Second-Person The biggest danger with second-person is that you are telling the reader what to think and do, and if they argue with you, the suspension of disbelief can vanish in seconds.
Often this is overcome, or at least subdued, by using a first-person narrator alongside the reader surrogate, yet writing it in present tense is still a risk. You prefer that seat, with your back so close to the wall? Very well, although you will benefit less from the intermittent breeze, which, when it does blow, makes these warm afternoons more pleasant. And will you not remove your jacket?
So formal! Defamiliarisation: when present tense was a rarely-used technique Dickens used it, but after that no one much till the s its effect was strange and estranging.
It simplifies handling tenses: mostly just simple and continuous present to grapple with. Combined with first person, present tense closes the gap between narrator and actor: what the actor is experiencing is all that the narrator can know.
Realism in time puts the focus on immediate experience, not wider context and understanding. Realism in time tends to include trivia of action and setting which with past tense you could skim over at will. Stories using the past tense are written the same way stories have been told for years—once upon a time, sometime before the present time, these marvelous characters existed and lived out a fantastic adventure. When I say most stories, I mean the great majority of stories. Oral stories as well as written fiction are told using the past tense.
The present tense—is, walks, drinks, hopes—on the other hand, is rare. Yes, we all know wonderful stories told using present tense. Yet in comparison to the number of novels that use the simple past, present-tense novels are few in number. Present-tense narration is also much more recent a practice. From what I can tell from a quick survey of Internet articles, readers notice when stories are told using the present tense.
We are saying that its use is noticeable. Let me stress that neither choice is right or wrong on principle.
Talk in your head Imagine you are having a conversation with a good friend in your head. January 31, by Fiction Editor Beth Hill last modified January 31, One of the first decisions for a writer beginning a new story is the choice of narrative tense—will the story be a look into past events or will it race through the present? Choke by Chuck Palahniuk Palahniuk is well-known for using first-person present in his writing, and the style suits him well. We want the Packers to win. This increases the present tense voyeurism of first-person and makes for a more immersive experience. Backstory and flashbacks are much easier to handle because there are so many more kinds of past tense than present tense.
When I say most stories, I mean the great majority of stories. But it is also important to choose the correct point of view for a novel. How to write a narrative essay in School papers and stuff A favorite assignment for English classes, this kind of writing is supposedly among the easiest kind to write. This increases the present tense voyeurism of first-person and makes for a more immersive experience. We were buying land.
The present tense is often associated with literary fiction, short stories, students in writing programs and workshops, and first novels. Either they insist using the simple past is the only way to tell a story or they say present tense has much to offer and is as equally valid as past tense. Very well, although you will benefit less from the intermittent breeze, which, when it does blow, makes these warm afternoons more pleasant. Save it for how-to-do-it writing. You may write to entertain, persuade, or inform your audience, but narrative may have a more practical application.
Also, make sure your tenses work together to show time relationships.
In this extract he almost jumps from past to future, yet maintains present tense overall as the story is unfolding whilst he writes it. Use some of the techniques you have used in your descriptive writing to dress up your narrative. Gregory goes back to his tutor; his reluctance is clear enough, though little about Gregory is clear to him. Realism in time puts the focus on immediate experience, not wider context and understanding. Figure out your natural tense You will be able to write more naturally if you figure out what tense you use in your head.
If you prefer to give the reader the impression of being in the scene, you may decide to use present tense. At the end of Of Mice and Men, Lennie sees an enormous rabbit that chastises him, making him think of George. The narrator can even hint at or tell bits of it. Either they insist using the simple past is the only way to tell a story or they say present tense has much to offer and is as equally valid as past tense. Defamiliarisation: when present tense was a rarely-used technique Dickens used it, but after that no one much till the s its effect was strange and estranging.