Friday, April 29, 2011

Always Past Tense?

I can't recall reading a single cozy that wasn't written in past tense. It is the most common tense to write in. Most people prefer reading past tense to present tense--myself included. And past perfect or future tense would just be annoying.

But could a cozy work in present tense? One of the arguments for using present tense is that is makes the action more immediate. Everything is happening NOW. The reader is experiencing everything as the protagonist does.

Yeah, well, that's one of my problems with reading present tense. I know I'm not in Cute Little Town, Arkansas, walking into a bagel shop. Present tense throws me out of the story and unsuspends my disbelief.

So, how about you? Does present tense bother you? Do you think it would work for a cozy?

Inquiring minds want to know.

1 comment:

  1. Like everything else, I think it depends on the individual piece. I've noticed that present tense works best if you need some kind of 'immediacy' effect or if you want to emphasize that no other time matters--just the present moment.

    But no, I've never seen it in a cozy. Since, in general, cozies are series at heart, you always have time, so eliminating the past to focus only on what is going on *now* doesn't work as easily. If that makes any kind of sense.