IWSG, Romantic Comedy, Smitten with Travel, Writing

Writing in Present Tense, ARC Reader Request & An Adorable Cat | IWSG

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It’s a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there’s an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they’re struggling with what to say.

This month’s question is:

Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the zone? Care to share?

Check out how people have answered this month’s question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list HERE. I opted out of answering the question, instead sharing some of my insecurities about writing in present tense. Check it out below.

Which of these sentences do you prefer:

1 – I write in present tense, then worry that readers will hate it.

2 – I wrote in present tense, then worried that readers would hate it.

If you had asked me this in the not so distant past, I would have said without any hesitation that Option #2 was way better. Like many other people of a certain age, I grew up reading novels written in the past tense. That was just how it was done. I had no idea there was any other kind of book.

Then came The Hunger Games. Loved the story, but I found the use of present tense a bit jarring. I read a bunch of other YA books for a while and made my peace with present tense. I didn’t love it, but it was starting to grow on me.

As of late, I’ve been obsessed with reading romantic comedies / chick lit. And guess what? A bunch of them are written in present tense. And guess what else? I love it!

I know some of you are shaking your heads. Why, Ellen, why? Why have you gone to the dark side?

Well, here are a couple of the things I like about it:

1 – Everything feels way more intense.

And when you reading romance, that’s an awesome thing. Especially when the main character is kissing a really cute guy.

2 – It kind of feels like a movie.

You’re smack-dab in the middle of the action. It’s all happening right now. You’re experiencing things right along with the main character, like those kissing scenes.

So when I decided to try my own hand at writing a romantic comedy, guess what I did? Yep, that’s right, I decided to write it in present tense.

This may turn out to be a huge mistake.

Readers may hate it.

This may be an experiment gone bad.

Or it could be amazing.

Time will tell.

Wanna try out a present tense romantic comedy? I’m looking for ARC readers.

If present tense doesn’t scare you off and you’d like to read and review an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Smitten with Ravioli, let me know if the comments. Be sure to leave your email address.

I don’t have a firm publication date yet, but it will be out sometime toward the end of May. In terms of heat level, it’s on the clean & wholesome side of the scale. There’s kissing, but no sex scenes.

You can check out the blurb HERE.

Raise your hand if you like adorable cats!

This is Garfieldia, one of the cats that lives at the marina where we’re currently hanging out at in our teeny-tiny camper. She’s such a sweet cat – super affectionate and cuddly.

So what about you – any writing rituals you want to share? Do you like present tense? Interested in an ARC of Smitten with Ravioli?

49 thoughts on “Writing in Present Tense, ARC Reader Request & An Adorable Cat | IWSG”

  1. That’s awesome that you tried a different tense and it worked well for your story. I think it’s just like writing in 3rd or 1st person. Different stories need different things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I hope it’s worked well for the story – time will tell if readers think so 🙂 Totally agree that it’s like 1st vs. 3rd person – each one has its merits.


  2. Hi,
    I really don’t know how I feel about the present tense. I am an avid reader though and I am quite sure I have read some books in the present tense. I wish you all the best with your book and look forward to the publication because maybe I will read it and find out how I feel about it
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it makes a difference if the book is well written or not. The use of present tense can be particularly jarring in books that aren’t as well written. Hopefully, mine won’t fall into that camp. 🙂


  3. I speak and think in present tense. It’s been suggested I write in past tense. As a result, my tenses are all screwed up. I need ProWritingAid to signal the inconsistencies. I’m still struggling with the same question: Past or Present. I know you’ll make the right decision for depending on the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t write in present tense or first person. I’ve tried and I always end up reverting to past tense, third person. It’s a struggle for me as a writer. I can read it and edit it just fine, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have tried and tried to write in present tense, and I find myself switching over by the third or fourth chapter. I need to try again, because I can see the benefits of it.
    I would love to try being an ARC reader. I know I’ve been slow lately, but I think it would be fun to see what you’ve done in present tense writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Holy cow! One of the things in my writing is to mix up the tenses. I have to be very watchful so I don’t end up with a lot of He is and She was together. Writing in present tense would be difficult to do for a whole novel! But with your writing talent, you’ll be able to pull it off.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Some books just naturally work better in present tense. I think it’s easier for readers to immerse in a first person POV, but as long as a book is well-written, I can generally crawl right into the make-believe world, no matter what the POV may be. My only beef is when an author is inconsistent and fails to maintain a single tense. Also, books written in first person sometimes lure authors into injecting themselves and their opinions into the manuscript, which ends up coming across as preachy and very annoying. That being said, I’d be happy to read your manuscript. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You raise good points about the pros/cons of 1st person vs 3rd person POV. I really enjoy writing in 1st person POV – it comes more naturally to me. And I think it works really well with present tense.

      Thanks for the offer – I’ll add you to the ARC list. 🙂


  8. I’ve used present tense in my horror shorts, and it works well. I wrote my book in past tense, but have been giving it a second thought. Also thinking about shifting to first person. So I am clearly not the person who can give any intelligent advice on the subject. 😀

    I’d love to read your ARC. I know the story will be good and maybe I can learn something.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For me it is just one element. It may or may not work depending on how well it gels with the other elements, including the character voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m impressed. I wrote my short for Voyages in the present tense, and it was hard! Keeping it straight while doing flashbacks to fill in the rest of the story, as it were, challenged me some. I’m sorry I wasn’t available for your Beta–I’d love an ARC!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Looking forward to Smitten by Ravioli. I like clean and wholesome. I’m sure I won’t mind reading in the present tense. I read all of the Hunger Games books and didn’t notice that they were in any special tense. I did just read a chapter of a book written in second person. Did not like that.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It was in the book Red Shirts. Have you read that one? You might like it. At the end there are 3 additional chapters that wrap up the story line each written in a different person – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. It kind of ruin the book for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I used 1st person present tense with my middle grade sci-fi. I loved it. I use 1st person past for my mysteries and 3rd person past for my romantic suspense and sci-fi stories. I like the variety. I’d be happy to beta read for you. dmburton72@gmail.com Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet present tense works really well for middle grade. I’m actually looking for ARC readers, but will keep you in mind for the next time I’m looking for beta readers. 🙂


  13. Hi Ellen!

    You might remember I wrote my travel memoir in the present tense. I only gave it a little bit of thought before I dove into that project. I love that tense for the reasons you mention. I wanted to utilize suspense in the book, despite it being non-fiction. The best way to do that – and to take my readers with me in my spontaneous way of life and decision making – is to use present tense. Who knows whether it did the trick, though, as it’s still not published! 😦

    Happy to beta read for you as I’m curious about this new tack of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m writing memoir at the moment so I wonder that that would work in present tense. I like the concept of being dropping the reader right into the heart of the action, but as it’s memoir, maybe that doesn’t make sense to them, because a memoir is content that’s already happened. Maybe the sections where I’m analyzing what’s happening, looking back on the events, but thinking about my reaction and how I feel about them now in hindsight, would be a way to use present tense successfully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my friends, Liesbet @ Roaming About, wrote her memoir in present tense and it worked really well. It worked so well that I had forgotten she wrote it in present tense until she reminded me in a comment on this post. 🙂


  15. (Waaaaaayyyyyy behind on visits.) I think it depends on the situation when it comes to which tense I prefer. I happen to like series like the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. She stared those books in past tense, and then, a few books later, we had caught up to where the main character actually was and it switched to present tense. It was interesting. I don’t hate it, thought I don’t know if I could focus on writing like that for very long (beyond a blog post or something :)).


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