It does not matter how many times I read my own works of fiction, I always miss tense issues that run rampant – not tension – tense: past, present, and all those others I’ve never been introduced to but exist, just the same.
This is why I must have beta readers and an editor. I don’t read the problem. When I read aloud to myself, I seldom hear the problem. I generally intend the shifts. He’s sitting now, but when he’s ruminating, he remembers how he felt. Sigh.
I’ve been told that many writers have tense issues because of how stories are told before they are written on a page and edited pre-publication. We default to our ancient oral traditions.
Here’s a short and sweet article from the Huffington Post via Writer’s Relief on the subject. My eyes glazed over after the first two paragraphs, but I’m going to make myself read and comprehend and practice this art – The Art of Using Correct Verb Tenses In Your Writing. Then, hands thrown up in dismay, I’ll give in to failure, and pass out highlighters to all my writer friends, wrapped up in my recent story or chapter.