Tense?

I was reading a discussion about verb tense and style. Does each of the following examples have a place in story writing? Should the second example be the rule?

  • A man walks into a room and sits down with a woman, the one he met years ago in Madrid. “Mary!” he says. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
  • A man walked into a room and sat down with a woman, the one he had met a year before in Madrid. “Mary!” he said. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
  • A man will walk into a room and sit down with a woman, the one he will have met years ago in Madrid. “Mary!” he will say. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

In what verb tense do you tend to write narratives? Which do you prefer to read? Take a passage you’ve found or written and rewrite it playing with verb tenses. Discuss your results.

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