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Present tense narrative can work powerfully with flashbacks. What I consider to be one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century is Robert Cormier's 'Heroes'. It continually swaps between the present tense narrative and flashbacks to the past. The climax of the novel is the meeting of the two. To tell his story he needed the past and he needed the ...


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Writing for flashbacks is perfectly fine, as is the case in movies referenced by Lauren Ipsum's comment. Sometimes setting the scene is effective by setting a tone or expectation in the present or perhaps even just as a hook for the reader/viewer. An important point to consider might be, given the entire romance is in the past, is to make it seem as a story ...


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"What would be the alternative device in switching to a backstory narrative other than switching into a past tense?" An alternative device I have often seen work well is doing the opposite tense switch - that is, having the main narrative in the past tense and the back story in the present tense as a flashback. (In fact I don't see any significant ...


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It is uncommon and feels unnatural to narrate anything in one tense only. Instead of believing your friend (what makes him an expert?) you might want to pick some contemporary fiction and confirm for yourself what writers (and editors) do. Something like this is fairly commonplace: I barely manage to drag myself from sleep when the alarm goes off. The ...



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