Narration tenses issue

by David Flynn
(Ireland)

Hey, so the story I'm writing works best if I feature narration in the past and present tense.

I.e the (first person) narrator talks about what he is doing in the present tense, but also keeps a journal detailing events and encounters he has had in his past (past tense narration).

I'm struggling to think of a way to do this coherently and without confusing the reader, any advice, tips or examples that can help me?

Answer: I think the important thing is to make sure it's always clear in your mind, as you write, what's going on moment to moment.

As long as you keep track of whether the narrator is describing what's happening in his present or events that have happened in his past that will solve most problems. It's when the writer gets confused that the writing becomes confused.

It would also help if the journal entries are clearly identified as journal entries. For instance, you could include date/place stamps at the top of each one or set them apart from the rest of the text, perhaps with italics (underlining). If and when you get into production, the book designer may choose to use a different font for journal entries or some other typographic effect.

You may also want to put a break to mark the beginning and end of each journal entry. Put in an extra line with just a "#" in the centre to indicate a break.

Best of luck.

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