Verb tense is a detail that should be considered before starting your story, as it determines the level of intimacy between the reader and the characters in your book. When verb tense is inconsistent, it jars the reader out of the story. Here are the two most common verb tenses used in fiction:
- Present tense: This includes verbs such as "I want," "she goes," and "we meet." When combined with first-person POV, a greater intimacy is created. This is commonly used in young adult and contemporary adult novels. Some readers feel that using the present tense is a bit too much, but it can be very effective if done correctly.
- Past tense: These words are formatted to show that the action took place in the past, such as "I went," "he knew," and "we danced." The story could still take place in the present. Only the verbs are different. By using past tense, there is a bit more space between the characters and the readers, and many readers find this preferable. It is the default choice for many authors.