Author Topic: Is this tense consistent?  (Read 1319 times)

Short-Cross

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • Kudos: 0
    • View Profile
Is this tense consistent?
« on: February 10, 2020, 06:12:59 AM »
Hello there. I can't decide if the tense in this paragraph is consistent or not. I must have wrangled it a thousand times - it's the shift from 'woken' to 'wake' I think. Or is it OK?

"In the eleven months since the death of his wife, Marcus Hartley had woken each morning on soaked pillows and tightly swaddled in his bed linen. He would wake in a state of panic, as though he had neglected some vital task, and for several minutes he would stare into the darkness, pulse thumping in his ears, trying to remember what he’d forgotten."


Thanks for any help!
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 06:15:35 AM by Short-Cross »

Mark Hoffmann

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9305
  • Kudos: 19
    • View Profile
Re: Is this tense consistent?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2020, 07:38:44 AM »
Seems fine to me.
Writing humour is the hardest thing since sliced bread.

The Severed Hands of Oliver Olivovich
UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B087SLGLSL
US - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087ZN6L6V

FB Author Page - https://www.facebook.com/Mark-Hoffmann-Writer-102573844786590

Short-Cross

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • Kudos: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Is this tense consistent?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2020, 10:39:33 AM »
Thanks Mark!

Jo Bannister

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2393
  • Kudos: 13
  • If this was easy, anyone could do it
    • View Profile
Re: Is this tense consistent?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2020, 01:55:18 PM »
Yes, it's fine.  I think you've just been looking at it for too long.  (In a perfect world, though, you might find a different verb for one of the sentences.  It's a little repetitive.)

rewh2oman

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
  • Kudos: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Is this tense consistent?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2020, 07:34:43 PM »
I agree with previous advice.

Also, you might consider changing

from "Marcus Hartley had woken each morning"
to "Marcus Hartley woke up each morning"


Gyppo

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12876
  • Kudos: 37
  • I've been writing ever since I realised I could.
    • View Profile
Re: Is this tense consistent?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2020, 08:29:55 PM »
You could tweak this until the cows come home, but there's nothing there to really make a reader stumble and not reach the next paragraph.  That's the enemy to avoid.  It's very easy to overthink things at times ;-)

If you feel the need to carry on torturing yourself, here's a small variation which simply avoids the woken/wake double.  Nearly all your own words, just smoothed out a little.

"In the eleven months since the death of his wife, Marcus Hartley had woken each morning on soaked pillows and tightly swaddled in his bed linen.  In a total panic, as though he had neglected some vital task.  For several minutes he would stare into the darkness, pulse thumping in his ears, trying to remember what he’d forgotten."

Gyppo
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 09:34:03 PM by Gyppo »

Short-Cross

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • Kudos: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Is this tense consistent?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2020, 09:01:24 AM »
That's miles better - thanks Gyppo (and everyone else)