Click here for a PDF — A Short Story in Five Tenses
As an exercise for my wonderful English students at New York Language Center, I asked them to write the final page, all sentences in future tense.
It takes a lot of concentration to not run through prose. The intention of this exercise is to harness your creativity and channel it through one mode: simple future. Will, will, will, to be going…
Help finish the story by writing in the comments section:
What do you think will happen between the two best friends? Write only in the Future Tense…
I’d love to know the result. While writing a short story in present tense person it occurred to me that future tense would likely door somewhere between awkward and confusing as hell. It’d be great to see how others tackle the problem, if only for a page, well and poorly.
Dear Dave, please follow the link to see a PDF (result) of the story in multiple time tenses.
In reading your question, though, I feel my story doesn’t blend tenses quite like you imagine. You will find it is divided into marked sections, one per time tense, so that there is little of that overlapping awkwardness you and I both fear. But I think your concern is a valid one: what if we are writing a single moment, a single short story in present tense — and then an inner impulse asks us to slip the prose into another tense, say, into simple future. I say, try it. Why not? In real life our minds constantly dialogue between recent events, current events, and soon to be events. I believe the contemporary reader can handle this on the page. Try it, well or poorly, and post it here, or share it over email. I am more than curious to see what your instinct comes up with.