When Is Your Narrator?: Picking the Right Tense

What to do with tense? I wrote about this briefly a few months ago, in the context of narrative mode, and I mentioned a few narrative modes and how they were used by their authors. But how do you pick a tense to use? To review, narrative mode has three components: Person – First (“I”), […]

Should You Always Avoid the Verb “To Be”?

A fundamental rule of style is that you should avoid the verb “to be,” preferring instead strong, descriptive verbs that show, rather than tell. As an example, instead of writing, “The light was bright,” you should prefer, “The light blinded her as a hot-white flame,” or some such. So every time you use am, is, […]

Making Sense of Narrative Mode (and Tense)

Sometimes writers talk about what “tense” they’re writing in: third-person past, first-person present, or whatever. This is actually called “narrative mode,” not just tense. The tense is the past, present, or future part of the narrative mode. And the narrative mode encompasses more than just person and tense.