Present Tense: Yay or Nay?

Okay, I really need your guys’ opinion on this. Please read the following paragraph.
I followed Marcus into the front room and stopped short. Wow. It was huge. The staircase was like as wide as my bedroom, and the two would-be tall house plants were dwarfed by the towering ceiling. I looked around in wonder. Was this seriously someone’s house?
That is called past tense, and is how the majority of books are written. Now read this paragraph.
I follow Marcus into the front room and stop short. Wow. It’s huge. The staircase is like as wide as my bedroom, and the two would-be tall house plants are dwarfed by the towering ceiling. I look around in wonder. Is this seriously someone’s house?
This is called present tense, and it unusual in published books. In my opinion, though, it’s much more personal and, well … present. It feels as if it’s happening right now. I think it really draws the reader in, as if “I” is, indeed, the reader.
So I need your opinion. Shall I go with the tried and true, which, though not as cool, is more accepted? Or shall I go with the unique, the risky … yeah, you can tell I’m biased. The only thing that prevents me from going with the awesome present is that I’m already committing 2 novel no-no’s with this book. 1, having all three viewpoint characters be first-person (I, me) and 2, it’s gonna be longer than the average novel. So it is really worth it to add to my literary sins and increase the difficulty of getting it published?
Needless to say, I can’t decide. Please comment and give me your honest opinion. I don’t care if you’ve never even considered writing a book. Just tell me which you think would be more desirable – a better book or better chance of it being published and therefore reaching more individuals?


  1. Then again, maybe it won't change the difficulty of publishing. I'm just guessing it will...

  2. past tense gives something a more well thought of air. it is as if you already decided that it happened and are deigning to let it be known to us as your readers instead of saying something that could be off the top of your head. there is a reason past tense gets published.

  3. origamiGrape: I see what you're saying... I think it depends on what feel you want. The past is if you want it like someone's telling you a story. Eloquent, well thought out. The present is for actually becoming a character. Real people's thoughts are messy and uneloquent, but it's more real. So yeah, good point.
    Thanks for the comment! :)

  4. I say past tense. I agree that the present makes it more like you ARE the character, but that's what first person does generally. And those who have never read something in present tense won't know the difference. :p
    If you've already been writing in past tense, I think you should keep it that way, especially since you're already doing two other things you think would hinder publishing? God bless on the rest of the book!! :)

  5. Tianna: Okay, thanks for the advice! Again, I'm not actually sure it would hinder publishing... and I'd more than happily rewrite the beginning (I'll probably do it more or less anyway) :)

  6. Literary sins? Nothing of the kind!!

    Take risks and try new things! Challenge the the status quo of literary art! Be unique, adventurous, daring! Commit all the novel no-no's and reinvent the world of the written story! I vote present tense!

  7. Raymond: Thanks! Your comment inspires me. I really, really, really want to do present. :D

  8. LOL, two lengthly logical comments for past tense, and she says, Thanks for your input. Then one rather reckless, impulsive comment inviting larger creativity, and she says, I'm so inspired! Haha... JK. I think we know which way you want to go, so do it!

  9. LOL! :P Yep, I think you're right. I have officially started writing in present tense!

  10. LOLZ :P

    I can't wait to read it! I will buy the book. Then I'll by ten more and pass it out to all my friends and relatives!

    Except you have to get it published first...rats. Publishers are so difficult.