present imperfect

LOTS of people wrote and called to tell me how wrong I am about the present tense. Here’s my response to your responses:

1. I do not wish to eliminate the present tense.

2. Stories and novels written in the present tense can be stunningly beautiful and original.

3. It takes a lot of skill for someone’s present-tense prose not to sound like everyone else’s present-tense prose.

4. But of course it is completely possible.

5. Using the present tense because it is the best possible choice for your story is perfectly valid.

6. Using the present tense when there is a better choice for your story, simply because present-tense prose is your default mode, is a shame.

7. The ability to fully control and manipulate all available tenses is an essential element of craft.

8. The previous blog post, and this follow up, are directly almost entirely at myself and issues that I identify with my own writing.

9. That is what this blog is all about.

10. I reserve the right to change my mind about any of this, and everything else, too.

11. For those of you into the number 11,  I thought I’d better add an extra point. You’re welcome.

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