When I write a story...

General_Ricardo   Saturday, April 24, 2004, 08:59 GMT
When I write a story in English, is it better to use present or past tense?
Also, Can I write " and he's like 'yeah, I didn't like him'" , instead of " and he says ' yeah, I didn't like him'"?
mjd   Saturday, April 24, 2004, 09:14 GMT
That depends on what is going on in your story. If you're trying to give the idea that something is presently going on, then you'd write in the present. For example:

"John wakes up at the same time everyday. He brushes his teeth, has breakfast, reads the paper and then heads to work....." etc.

As soon as you go into telling a narrative or something that happened in the past (I'd say most stories are written in the past tense. It takes some creativity to write a story in the present), then you have to use the past tense:

"Once upon a time there lived a princess in a giant castle. One day the princess came upon a frog....."
General_Ricardo   Sunday, April 25, 2004, 06:47 GMT
what about the other part of the question? can I use " He was like:...." instead of " He said:....."
mjd   Sunday, April 25, 2004, 07:24 GMT
Can you give me more of the text? It's a bit difficult to tell what's going on with what you wrote.

Using "he's like" is an informal slang way to say "he said." If you're trying to write a dialogue where two individuals are speaking casually as one would in the street with friends, then I don't see any harm in it. If, however, you're writing something formal or academic, then I wouldn't recommend it.
Eastie   Sunday, April 25, 2004, 07:25 GMT
"He was like..." is okay for informal speech (although it's a little too Valley Girl-Californiaspeak to be taken seriously), but for written narrative it's not okay unless you're writing from a modern character's p.o.v.
General_Ricardo   Sunday, April 25, 2004, 22:22 GMT
what's p.o.v. stand for?
Eastie   Monday, April 26, 2004, 00:35 GMT
p.o.v. - point of view
- / -   Tuesday, April 27, 2004, 08:22 GMT
Please, General Ricardo, don't forget your manners. The words "please" and "thank you" are integral components of the English language.
General_Ricardo   Thursday, April 29, 2004, 11:59 GMT
Dear -/-
I'm not forgetting my manners. I didn't have the chance to check these replies till now.
By the way, your asking me to use these words as if you helped me with anything. Also, I don't think there's a single language in the world in which 'The words "please" and "thank you"' are NOT " integral components".

Please -/- do yourself a favor and go do something usefull as I'm doing. Go learn another langauge at least!!!
/   Thursday, April 29, 2004, 13:15 GMT
-/- is right, it seems you have forgotten your manners: no "please" and no "thanks" at all!
General_Ricardo   Thursday, April 29, 2004, 13:36 GMT
If you would mind your bussiness! This is something between me and -/-!
Chilli   Thursday, April 29, 2004, 14:31 GMT
Please and thankyou. Now there's an interesting concept. My view of it is, if someone comes here to ask for help, and receives a reply that an individual has taken the time and trouble to construct, then why should that individual have to trouble themselves with a please and thankyou?

I'm not condoning rude or offensive posts, but why should the person offering assistance be so obsequious? To get the help and advice elsewhere one might have to pay.
Tremmert   Thursday, April 29, 2004, 19:40 GMT
Sorry, going back to the original topic - most stories in English seem to be written in the past tense, although a few modern novels (like Nobel prizewinner J M Coetzee's Disgrace) are written in the present.

The funny thing is the way this varies from language to language. Most Afrikaans stories seem to be written in the present tense. Even the Afrikaans translation of the first Harry Potter book changed the tense to present. Maybe this is because in English, the past tense is almost as brief as the present tense, whereas in Afrikaans and probably many other languages it's more wordy?