Gertrude, my truck, was a rust bucket.
I chose her name because it reminded me
of the word “gratitude.” I’m thankful
to have her even if she’s none too pretty.
Gertrude and I had been through a lot together.
Everyone who has edited my writing has redlined when I’ve changed tenses. They’ve convinced me that it takes the reader out of the story. I used to think changing tenses lent more dimension to my writing, creating an edge between what was—was—but now—isn’t. I realized that doing so breaks up the flow. So, I started to study how writers change tenses.
Wouldn’t you know that it was the last time she changed tenses? Had she thought about it and later agreed with me, or did she hate redlining so much she conformed?
After writing a blog for WWK last year in which I cited changing tenses as a problem with indie books, some readers came to the conclusion that I was against self publishing. No, I’m not against self published books in given situations where it makes sense and in a marketplace that has fluctuated. But, in any type of publishing, traditional or indie, readers have complained about a lack of writing quality and inadvertently changed tenses indicates a lack of editing to me.
Why does changed tenses set off such a staunch defense from authors who do so? Does conforming to standards violate their right to artistic license? What do you think?