Victoria, for the example you shared, you said, “This is past tense. I do think it makes a difference and I don’t think present tense would work as well, though I’m not sure I can put my finger on why.”
I think it’s because in this scene, we gather that much of the perspective and insight from this character’s POV comes from the expectations they had, and we get a glimmer of how those expectations were met. Had it been present tense, there may have been more of an air of curiosity still. In this case, feelings were set, not being set. Sometimes that’s a small subtly that can do so much. Sometimes a story doesn’t need this.
Anyway, that shows that tense choice can matter in how the POV comes across. Past vs present makes a choice as to how much the character shows of their feelings and experiences but in different frames. In present, readers are there as those feelings are put into place. In past, there is a bit of room to add in a slight bit more decisiveness in a character’s feelings/experience.
Katie McCoach, Instructor
Grow your best story!