Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV’s Writer’s Corner – Present Tense

Bonjour mes estudas

It is I, bestselling author and all-round excellent human being, Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV. Here to pass on the fruits of my intellect to those lesser beings – such as yourselves – who struggle through the dilemmas of life, love and literature.

Today we have a question from Ian (is it only I who has noticed what a plain and boring cognomen is Ian?).

Dear Ivy,

Is there a reason I struggle to feel immersed in present tense writing? What, if any, are the pros to writing the seldom appreciated tense when past is available and most prefer it?

Your Adoring Fan,


My very dear Ian,

This is the sort of question that exposes the ignorance of one’s little students to the glare of the public eye. One does not, silly boy, write in tense. One writes intensely. When the Muse sits on one’s shoulder and whispers his seduction into one’s shell-like ear one does not allow the constraints of grammar to befoul the flow of beautiful prose from one’s metaphorical pen. One cares not whether one’s protagonist speaks pastly, presently, or futuristically. It matters not. The outpouring of one’s artistic sensibilities will carry the reader of taste along on the flood tide of emotion and adoration.

Good writing, has it not been often said, is timeless. So do not concern yourself with whether the events written are here and now, now and then or soon to be. Ignore the trite distinctions that are mere verb forms and peer more deeply into the flowering blossom of prose. The present is the immortal now and as such is a fitting medium for the more discerning artistes of the literary world. Those who prefer the most opulent and rare of words to cluster in their paragraphs and for whom the tawdry details most lesser authors need to observe are become merely optional as they have grown beyond them.

Oh no, my dear little Ian, immersion in writings should not be a function of tense, person, or voice. Should you fail in your endeavours to understand the writing you are drawn to, there are but two possible reasons for this miserable failure. The first possibility is that you are in the hands of a writer who cannot handle their chosen means of communication. The second, sadly, is that there is a lack in you.

I hope, whilst yet fearing it likely, the latter is not the case, and that you will eventually find an author whose sensibilities march alongside your own. One who will fully immerse you in the embracing sensuality of their prose regardless of tense, gender, sexuality, or language.

Yours with gently reproving affection,

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

If you have a literary problem you may avail yourself of one’s wisdom by posting to my Facebook presence.

You can find more of IVy’s profound thoughts in How To Start Writing A Book courtesy of E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago.

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