Interview with Poet and Short Fiction Writer David Jauss.
Prompt: This week's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by work of my guest, David Jauss. As we discussed in the interview, David published an essay titled, "Remembrance of Things Present: Present Tense in Contemporary Fiction," in the March/April 2002 issue of the AWP Chronicle. Here is a quote from that article:
Whatever the causes for the prevalence of the present tense in our fiction, it is important that we understand its advantages and disadvantages, so we can better decide when to use it. Our principal concern as writers ought to be to choose those techniques which best serve the particular story we're writing...
As an exercise this week, experiment with tense. If you have a story or a narrative poem that doesn't seem to be working, see what happens if you change the tense. Consider the level of immediacy that you want to bring to the piece. Think, too, about how tense affects narrative introspection, and how it might heighten or detract from the overall theme, or sense of what you're trying to accomplish. As you study the piece, written in different tenses, you may find you have an instinctive reaction about which is the best way to go.