Tenses

Here’s a question, so I been writing for ages but i have always had trouble with my tenses. When it comes to writing a story do you keep the same tense during the whole story, the chapter or each paragraph?
ANother question, does dabble have a discord?

Hi Dorine,

How often I change tense depends on what kind of tense you’re talking about. I’m assuming you mean the “past, present, future” tense and not a verb tense. In that case, I only shift out of the tense if I have very good reason, and only very rarely. (Obviously with verb tenses, I shift all the time/as often as necessary, and I don’t pay attention to how often it happens.)

I might shift non-verb tenses like 4-5 times in a book and only for one with an informal tone.

Example from my current WIP:

I glared at him. “Go walk off a cliff, Baker.”

He looked at the rest of the people in the room. “Yeah, it’s her.”

I have no idea why we’re friends.

The bolded sentence is a tense change. In this case, I only change tenses because the text doesn’t communicate what I want otherwise. If I said, “I didn’t know why we were friends,” it would make it sound like the narrator found out why she and Baker are friends between the time the events she narrates occurred and the time that she’s narrating happened. For the sake of clear communication, I switch tenses.

IMO shifts like this should happen only when you can point to a good reason why they should happen. Otherwise it’s jarring for the reader.

(For the discord question, no clue.)