Publication date: 2018-06-06 00:09
A good author will use the tenses that fit the part of the story being told. The story comes before anything else. If it breaks the rules and works better, chances are sometime much later on you'll understand why it worked better and that it's a legitimate exception. Rules are proven by their exceptions. So try this for a fun exercise -- use first person to write a scene from an animal's point of view, in third person omniscient. You might even get a novel seed.
Future tense is effective when you're describing plans. If you want the planner to sound more decisive, use "I-statements" like Greg did at the start. People who claim responsibility for their plans aren't afraid to carry them out or see what happens.
Also, in the example you used, the word as tells us the action is ongoing. There 8767 s no reason to also use the continuous past for the verb.
Peter, I 8767 m first going to suggest that you consider going with words that seem to better fit the scene 8767 s or story 8767 s narrative distance rather than consider past tense for other reasons.
He switches to 8d Person Omniscient, Present Tense right before the opening chapter, in the last paragraph of the italicized section. So as we read his anecdotes, we can hear Bakker's voice start to tell the story, right before he's absent from it. This is a beautiful transition:
Throughout the story, Bakker reasonably describes the type of mentality Utahraptors might have, that of "giant, ground-running eagles." It's alien though. Birds and Utahraptors mate for life in "Darwinian monogamy" and human beings mate for life when they decide to, many cheat on it after doing so in ways a biologically monogamous creature couldn't conceive. Bakker draws on the similarities and commonalities between us and these social hunters to keep sympathy, while also standing back to remind us who we are and show them as part of our ancestry, distant cousins in the lineage of humanity.
If I said, 8775 Last year I had two blind dates, but the previous year only one, 8776 this can work. Yet previous year can sound too formal even here. I might want to loosen up the feel by saying, 8775 Last year I had two blind dates but only one the year before. 8776
The ten-year-old in me who still doesn't like books with more kissing than swordfights and gets creeped out by romantic conflict loved every minute of it. The secret to reaching outside a book's natural audience is to mix genres. My ten year old inner child grooved on dinosaurs far more than he hated kissing or domestic arguments. Not to mention, the things the pack argued about all made sense in terms of their immediate survival.
Might that change for readers in the future? Who knows. But it 8767 s accusatory and bossy and seemingly all-knowing. How many readers want to be accused of doing what they haven 8767 t done, told to do something by a character in a book (or by extension, the author), or be accosted by a character who acts as if he knows all about them? It 8767 s a bit like being directed by an invisible director. (You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out...)
I have a distaste for present tense, as well. It seems to be in fashion lately with the YA stories, but I 8767 m not particularly keen on YA stories on the whole, either. It just feels immature to me, without enough thought. Yes, it 8767 s immediate and makes things seem more exciting, but I want stories with more meat on their bones.