Monday, February 25, 2008

Today Is Ranty Letter-Writing Day!

Dear writers of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions,

I'm happy to indulge you in your stylistic quirks when they actually, y'know, make sense and work, rather than coming across as amateurish unfamiliarity with the English language. But for the love of grammar, pick a fucking tense and stay there. Any tense. Honestly, I don't care. Write the whole thing in future progressive, if you think that's somehow appropriate. But don't randomly change tenses for no reason for two or three sentences every page and a half. No, not even when your character is being introspective, unless you're actually reporting the exact thoughts she's thinking in the words she's thinking them.

I mean it. Failing to obey this simple, easy to follow rule will result in my enjoyment of your novel falling by at least 25%, and, if it goes on long enough, will instill in me a desire to hunt you down and pelt you with copies of your own books until you cry uncle.


(This particular version of this rant is brought to you by a certain fantasy tetralogy which, while not without its good points, is making me absolutely crazy by forcing me to endure 1,600+ pages of randomly shifting tenses.)


  1. You're right. Tense changes will be annoying.

  2. I am so going to be hating that.

  3. I might have been going to be agreeing with you.