When the literary historians of the year 3000 write about the fiction of our time, I believe they will consider our use of the present tense to be its most distinctive—and, perhaps, problematic—feature.Whereas present-tense narration was once rare, it is now so common as to be commonplace.In 1987, Robie Macauley and George Lanning dubbed it “the most frequent cliché of technique in the new fiction,” and since then, it’s appeared with even greater frequency.Although there are signs that its use is diminishing among established writers, it’s becoming the default choice for many younger writers.
That finding isn't likely to surprise Greta Tufvesson, who cofounded upscale matchmaking service The Bevy along with partner Nikki Lewis."While you should have some commonalities, you should find someone who complements you," Tufvesson adds."I've done a lot of competitive research, and often [with dating sites], it's, 'Oh, you both like skiing.' That's great, to a certain extent, but what if you want to learn about Middle Eastern politics? What if you want to learn another language and he speaks five?It seems natural to alter the chronology of events in past tense, when the narrator is looking back from an indeterminate present at many past times, but it seems unnatural to do it in present tense, when the narrator is speaking from and about a specific present. It is more difficult to create complex characters using present tense.While it is certainly possible to create complex characters in present-tense fiction, it’s more difficult to do so without natural access to the basic techniques that allow us to manipulate order and duration.