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Styling the Story

Updated: Dec 17, 2018

So, it's not always easy deciding from what perspective a story should be told. I asked around to some journalists and fellow authorships and found out a way to deal with this only to learn that the major issue might not be so focused on perspective as it is continuity of tense.

For example:

She took the winding path, through the alfalfa and wind strewn wisteria field to the stables, to check on the horses just as she had many times before. Something was different, but exactly what she could not yet deduce.

So here we have a continuity of perspective; First, Second, Third, Omniscient, & Some mixed/experimental

The story is unfolding as the reader reads and yet the tense is past: "took," "had," "was."

We have to ask ourselves not only "what is happening," but always bear in mind "when it's happening," from the scope of perspective. Continuity from start to finish regarding perspective is equally as important as tense recognition.


Apply use of granular analysis to check Style of Story:

Bring awareness to your audience that you are changing the time to the effect of tense.


She also had never noticed the tan saddle sak which sat atop the anvil before today. "Had someone else been here?" she thought to herself. "No doubt I will investigate this matter myself as soon as Nigel erects himself before me."

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Notice the 3rd person perspective switch to the 1st person perspective.

  2. Notice the past tense change to present tense.

  3. See: "had," "sat," "Had," "been," thought," and the second quote is a consideration of action that has not yet taken place (3rd person/omniscient)

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