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Don't write in present tense.

It needs to be said. Clearly, loudly, and widespread. Stop writing in present tense.

Fiction happens in the past. Even if it is science fiction, and it happens in the future, you can only logically read about it after it happened. It makes no sense to pretend that we are reading it as it happens.


The most egregious example of such a violation is a Star Wars novel titled Aftermath. The first two sentences of the book are inconsistent:


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

The second Death Star is destroyed.


Do you see what the author did there? This is a futuristic story (which for some reason takes place "a long time ago" - blame George Lucas for that one). But despite happening a long time ago, the author uses present tense verbs consistently throughout the book, as if it is happening right now.


That book is garbage, and it's not the only one. Several authors are writing their novels in present tense these days, as if they think they are publishing screenplays and are directing actors across the stage. They aren't. All they are doing is producing unreadable trash.


If you're reading this, if you are a writer, you can do better than this. Write in past tense. Tell us a good story. Don't pretend that it's happening as I turn the pages.