Which do you prefer, past tense or present?

I just got a great book idea, but I don't know whether to write it out in first person past tense or first person present tense. I've always liked first person pov the best because it gives you more of a look inside one person's head while keeping everyone else a mystery, but I don't know which tense to use. Past makes it seem as if the main character is recalling the event, but present puts you there. I've always liked past tense the best so that's all I've ever used, but I don't know if I should change it up or keep it how I always have. So you decide for me, past tense or present tense?

  • First person past tense
    56% (5)33% (3)44% (8)Vote
  • First person present tense
    33% (3)56% (5)44% (8)Vote
  • Results
    11% (1)11% (1)12% (2)Vote
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Updates:
EXAMPLE:
"I hike up my old fishnets and adjust my short skirt before approaching the expensive looking vehicle that has pulled up to the curb in front of me. The windows are tinted, so I can’t see inside."
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"I hiked up my old fishnets and adjusted my short skirt before I approached the expensive looking vehicle that had pulled up to the curb in front of me. The windows were tinted, so I couldn't see inside."

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Most Helpful Guy

  • present tense seems a little to 'in your face' sort of writing. it is hard to do well.

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    • I've been learning about it in my creative writing class so I think I've got the basics down so far, I'm more worried about which sounds better. Can you read the update and tell me which you prefer?

    • i already did. i think it really depends on what you're going for.

      present tense works to pull the reader into the story more.

      past tense is a bit easier to write and seems a bit more... thorough? not sure of the proper word.

    • Ah, thanks for the advice :)

Most Helpful Girl

  • I prefer to write in past tense haha present slightly harder because it's like living in the now
    For past I'm always like
    Ok I write creepy emotional stories as my teacher used to say
    Because it's easy for my to portray such deep emotion into a charted first or third person haha
    And past tense just makes it much more of an impact

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What Guys Said 2

  • You should change it up and expand upon your writing skills. Maybe have two characters, one in past tense the other in present and when they meet it changes to third person,..

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  • It all begins 10 years when I am 10 years old and I eat bana.. no... past tense is better.

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    • I didn't mean that she is recalling the story, I mean I wasn't sure whether to make her recalling it or make her describing it as it goes. Like
      "I hike up my old fishnets and adjust my short skirt before approaching the expensive looking vehicle that has pulled up to the curb in front of me. The windows are tinted, so I can’t see inside."
      vs
      "I hiked up my old fishnets and adjusted my short skirt before I approached the expensive looking vehicle that had pulled up to the curb in front of me. The windows were tinted, so I couldn't see inside."
      (P. s. the main character is a hooker)

    • past tense makes more sense.

    • Alright, thanks!

What Girls Said 2

  • I'm a "writer" myself, and I've always preferred books written in prestent tense. It's not that relevant, but I guess present tense, as you said, puts you in the moment and thus you feel a more direct connection to the characters. But that's just my opinion. And also, it depends on the story.

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    • Thanks! I think I may need to switch it up this time and use present, she's going to feel a lot of strong emotions and I want the reader to feel as if they're in her shoes

  • My favourite way to write has to be first person in present tense... by the end of the book I usually end up writing past tense, usually in a second characters perspective. :)

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    • I've always been good at keeping the right point of view and tense, I normally only mix it up a couple of times. Can you read the update and tell me which you prefer?

    • Yeah I don't dislike writing in past tense but I always feel like I can get into the characters head more writing present tense, if that makes sense? Kind of like you're feeling it as you're writing it (sounds stupid).

      Oh and I had a look, both are good but maybe the first option :)

    • I know exactly what you mean, and thanks for the advice :)

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