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How do people feel about reading/writing in different time tenses

Finchbearer

Minstrel
I’m my latest writing I felt inspired to write an opening excerpt from the end of the story, like snippet of what is to come. I wanted to entice the reader in this way.

I then have the narrator in another tense, which is the tense that the story is being told.

So I then allow the narrator to recall the past in order to tell the overall story.

Has anyone done something similar? Am I not over complicating things? I think it makes sense when it’s read but I also don’t want to overdo it.

I’m not talking about time travel btw, that would be way too complicated, and just makes me chuckle as it reminds me of the Terminator film…

Finchbearer 🪶
 

pmmg

Vala
Everything has the potential to be executed well. So in the context of its story it may just the right thing. I suspect it helps to clarify the change of scene.

In my own story the format is usually the main thread(s), a thread showing past events, and a thread to show the back story of a character. For the past events one chronological order is unimportant. I think it works.

Such would not me out of a story. But poor execution would.

I do have a story that flashed back to past events that drew comments on tense. I never found a way to fix it, so….
 

Mad Swede

Maester
This has been done before, and by several well-known writers. The example that sprang immediately to my mind was Iain M Banks' book Feersum Endjinn. I don't use the method myself as I'd rather keep my readers in suspense.
 

Sydnie

Acolyte
I'm playing with tenses a little in the story I'm working on right now. For context, the main character is an ordinary teen who spends her free time playing as basically a superhero in an online game. The real world segments are written in first person present tense, while the game segments are written in third person past tense. The idea I was going for is that the real world segments are her relating events in her life as they happen, and the game segments are her telling a story about her character in the game. But I also play with the tenses a little later in the story as her perspective shifts.

All that to say, I think mixing tenses is perfectly fine as long as you have a concrete reason for doing it. Not that I imagine anyone here would do it just to be cheeky or anything~
 

Finchbearer

Minstrel
I'm playing with tenses a little in the story I'm working on right now. For context, the main character is an ordinary teen who spends her free time playing as basically a superhero in an online game. The real world segments are written in first person present tense, while the game segments are written in third person past tense. The idea I was going for is that the real world segments are her relating events in her life as they happen, and the game segments are her telling a story about her character in the game. But I also play with the tenses a little later in the story as her perspective shifts.

All that to say, I think mixing tenses is perfectly fine as long as you have a concrete reason for doing it. Not that I imagine anyone here would do it just to be cheeky or anything~
Sounds very interesting!

When I think about it I’ve read loads of books with different character perspectives and in different tenses, but when you’re writing you can get in a bit of a fog and end up thinking you’ve over complicated it.
 

BearBear

Troubadour
I once wrote an entire novel past tense then re-wrote it 1st person present tense with all the gooey thoughts of the protagonist and it was enjoyable both ways to me at least.
 
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