Narrative Now! #amwriting #amrevising #amquerying

Reading Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake for my book club, I realized that my manuscript needs the narrative present.

Narrative present (or historical present), is basically what it sounds like: instead of telling a story in the past tense, you write it in the present.

Thus:

Heathcliff felt discouraged as he walked to the store.

Becomes:

Heathcliff feels discouraged as he walks to the store.

(No, my manuscript does not contain a character named Heathcliff.)

There are important pros and cons to the narrative present, and some have complained that it has been overused in recent years. But it hadn’t even occurred to me to use it until reading Atwood. Continue reading

Fiction: The Time Traveler

Note: The story originally appeared at How We Lost the Moon, which is now defunct.

David Wells, a young, twenty-something student at a small-town, community college sat on a park bench to do some reading between classes. The fall semester had just begun, and a cool breeze caressed his unkempt hair on this clear autumn afternoon. Despite the cloudless skies, a loud, thunderous sound, accompanied by a flash of light, piqued his curiosity. He looked around several times before an old man in a jumpsuit emerged from the bushes ten yards from him. Presumably this man must be a groundskeeper, but he had no tools and approached David with interest. Continue reading