Asked • 03/14/19

Are there any rules to follow about the narrator mixing past and present tense in writing?

I'm editing a short story that's been written in the past tense, however at some points I slip up and use a lot of present tense to describe some scenes. Thing is, it's happened often enough that I've started to second-guess myself when I edit it into past tense, and I'm not sure if I'm doing things correctly.**Here is an example of what I mean; this is the original paragraph:** > I think weakness is the wrong word for it. He's stronger than us because of his compassion. Standing up for and reaching out to someone in need is an applaudable quality. For him to still be his way at thirty-two years old, he's more of a man than the rest of us, that’s for sure.**Here is the same paragraph with consistent past tense:**> I thought weakness was the wrong word for it. He was stronger than us because of his compassion. Standing up for and reaching out to someone in need was an applaudable quality. For him to still be his way at thirty-two years old, he was more of a man than the rest of us, that’s for sure.The first feels more natural to me, so my question is, in general, is there a reason (in terms of getting published) to not mix past and present tense like that?

1 Expert Answer

By:

Henry I. answered • 03/14/19

Experienced, Patient Math and English teacher

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