One day a princess went into the forest to play. She threw her golden ball into the air and almost caught it. It falls into the pond. She starts to cry. A frog hops onto a lilypad and asks her what is wrong. The princess told him that she had dropped her ball. He offered to get it for her.
Do you notice the problem?
Definition: A shift in verb tense is when the writer changes from one tense to another. Sometimes it is done on purpose, but some writers accidentally switch back and forth. Accidental shifting usually happens when a writer begins writing as if he or she is watching the story. It is usually told in past tense. Then as the writer gets absorbed in the story and feels like he or she is experiencing the story, the tense switches to present tense. When the writer gets distracted, the tense switches back to past tense.
It's important to choose a tense and stick to it. When you begin a piece, decide if it will be told in past or present tense. Most narratives or stories about things that have already happened use the past tense. Some authors use the present tense to pull the reader into the story. This can be very effective, but only if done carefully.
The example should read:
One day a princess went into the forest to play. She threw her golden ball into the air and almost caught it. It fell into the pond. She started to cry. A frog hopped onto a lilypad and asked her what was wrong. The princess told him that she had dropped her ball. He offered to get it for her.