Present Tense

31543 words, plus four or so hours in the last couple days editing chapters of Never Pray Again.

Just sitting down to write fiction, I find that present tense is what comes without me thinking about it. I’m not sure why this is. As I recall The Hunger Games was in present tense, but it is an unusual choice. In reading and getting advice, I am often told to avoid it, especially as a first-time fiction writer hoping to be published someday. On the other hand, I’m told to go with my gut and develop my own voice.

It may come from running roleplaying games for so long. Everything narrated in a game, either by players or the GM, is in present tense. Action takes place now. It’s one of the things about roleplaying games that really engages me – I am not telling a story, I am vicariously living a story.

Maybe that’s what I’m going for in fiction – that the reader would more directly live a story. This isn’t because past-tense narratives bore me or shunt me out of the moment – quite the opposite. I have many favorite books, and I don’ think any of them are present-tense.

I guess it’s lucky that I don’t have any intention to publish Dragonblade, whatever it turns out to be (novella, novel, series, etc.). Next time, I can try past tense. The present tense just keeps sneaking in, so for now I’m going for it.

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