The reason? Mainly because of the negativity surrounding present tense literature.
Some say it’s pretentious, others claim it doesn’t allow insight while many suggest it’s simply a lazy tactic to put readers in the moment or it’s an attempt to be ‘poetic’.
I’m not sure I understand why people loathe it so much, despite the above reasons.
David Malouf’s Ransom uses present tense. And it’s a beautiful, lyrical read. Janet Turner Hospital’s Due Preparations for the Plague also. MJ Hyland writes in first person present tense and it works brilliantly.
Actually, it annoys me that some critics of the present tense claim it to be an easy way out. Writing my own manuscript in present tense has forced me to consider each sentence in a far more analytical way. Yes, there is a poetic aspect to it, but I also know there’s probably a lot of culling to be undertaken in the next round of editing. (There can be a tendency to write stage directions as opposed to literary scenes).
Writing in present tense came naturally on this particular book. It just seemed right at the time, and still does. For one, the subject matter is something that isn’t resolved. There is no hindsight. Well, for one character anyway. Maybe not so much for the other two.
So why change?
Well, because strangely, I don’t want that immediate judgement that it’s either pretentious or crap just because of the tense.
I mean, do reviewers or readers criticise a book because it’s written in third person instead of first? No.
Well, hopefully, I’ve talked myself out of weeks of rewriting.
Oh, diet tip of the week: move the fridge to the garage. It means you will have to walk further to eat. Even better, remove the kitchen altogether and create a beautiful sun-drenched work space where nobody will bother you (because they’ll be in the garage).