Deciding Which Tense to Write In for a Non-Fiction Book

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Get tips on which tense to write in for your non-fiction book in this free video guide for first-time authors.

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Video Transcript

I’m Bobbi Linkemer on behalf of, and I’d like to invite you to visit my website at Tense is another. Are you writing about the past? Are you writing about the present? Are you moving somewhat into the future? I’ve always had a problem with the way journalists will take a quote and then put at the end of it so and so said. To me, it’s definitely journalistically correct, but it puts it in the past tense and you don’t have a sense of immediacy. I’m not sure if this is correct, but I usually frame quotes in the present tense. He says, he observes. Here you have to be careful to not use words that are inappropriate. People don’t opine things; people don’t laugh things; people say things; people remember things; people observe things; people recollect, but mostly they say it. All these wonderful fancy synonyms for he says, just get in the way of nonfiction.


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