Thursday, July 06, 2006

An Open Letter From A Reader

Dear Allen Steele,

I don't really have a problem with your choice to write your novel in present tense. Even though my personal opinion is that present tense really works best for very short pieces with a tight focus on character and a strong emotional tone, and feels slightly out of place for your bog-standard saga-of-intrepid-interstellar-settlers SF story. However, when you manage to lose track of which tense you're actually in in the middle of a scene, for absolutely no reason, I lose a great deal of respect for you. And when, on the next page, you appear to lose track of what POV you're in in the middle of a paragraph, I more or less lose the ability to take you seriously.

Please, do not ever do this again, or I shall track you down and beat you about the head and shoulders with a hardback copy of your stupid book.

Not a whole lot of love,


  1. Presently, I am Tense too. Sometimes, I feel a third person is watchng what I write.

  2. I like in-tense writing, myself.

  3. And this is one reason why I seldom write much more than 1000 words of a story at one sitting: it's just so dernded *hard* to stay in one moment in someone else's head for much longer [of course, I Am Not Now, Nor Have I Ever Been, A Professional Writer, so YMMV...]

    (...or maybe we can blame the editor(s)? -- yeah, that's the ticket...[/end bad Jon Lovitz impression])

    [My word verification this time was tgwnfj, which in the script it was in, looked like it might've said "Gone Fishin'" in Elvish...]

  4. I also like to take a good book with me on a camping trip. That kind of reading is in tents!

    I'd invite somebody else to join me, but that could end up being two tents!

    (I'm having too much fun with these puns.)

  5. And I actually sort of wanted to read that book...

  6. Actually, aside from the stupid tense issues, it's OK. Not thrillingly original or anything, but a reasonable example of its kind. He just should not have tried to get cute with the tenses.

  7. Hey, I`m really sorry I started this Tense Issue. NOT!!!!!!