Friday, June 17, 2005

And WHEN?

Most stories are told in the past tense: I remember when. But it's consdered very modern in some circles to put everything into the present tense: I'm walking along Main, and I see a spaceship at the next corner. You could even, I suppose, write the story in the future tense: And then you will walk along Main, and you will see the spaceship. But that seems as much PREscriptive as it does DEscriptive.

Another decision is the time setting for your story -- again, one is pretty much limited to past, present, and future. Past is nice because you can romanticize it, justify all your research. Present seems easy, but stories set in the present have a bad habit of becoming dated as time passes, and with hindsight come questions such as, "What do you mean, you didn't NOTICE the political implications of the women's movement?" Some writers take to science fiction because they can invent any world they want, probable or improbable, but it's hard not to base things on the NOW and then you might as well plan to exaggerate some aspects to make a point. Writers who have not been regular readers of the sf genre can also make howlers of mistakes by forgetting some of the basics of science.

-- Rachel Holmen

1 comment:

My mother says said...

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