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Tense and Persons

Two basic rules together:

  1. Stories are best written in the past tense.

    Scripts are written in the present tense. If you are writing a script, do it that way and you will be fine. Stories written in the present tense almost never work. Use the past tense. Use it all the time. No arguments.

  2. Stories are best written in either 3rd or 1st person.

    Occasionally, a writer will take it into her head to write a story in the second person. This is a strange and terrible thing. HMG has seen this twice in TS fan fiction. One of the two stories worked. The writer of the other only thought she was using second person; in reality, she was using first. HMG's advice is this: Never, ever write a story in second person. Use third person, "he, she, it," or first person, "I." It is possible to mix the two, if you draw clear lines between scenes using first person and scenes using third, but it is not easy and often looks badly put together. HMG does not recommend it.



Show Don't Tell


Point of View

Tense Persons


Names, Pronouns, Descriptive Phrases



Plurals, Numbers, and Apostrophes


Common Errors


Favorite Bloopers

Contact HMG

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