I work in a company that sells simple children's books. A customer complained that the book changes tense randomly, and they're right. This book was created years ago and needs updating to ensure it uses correct grammar.
The book starts out like this:
Once upon a time in a faraway land, Princess $Name$ lived in a beautiful castle atop a high hill. She had a very busy schedule, each day slightly different from the last.
That's fine, however on all subsequent pages, the text is written in present tense, like so:
On this particular morning, Princess $Name$ awakens to the sound of a songbird singing outside her window.
The story is designed to work in present tense, so rewriting from present tense to past tense is not an option. I'd like to rewrite the first page so it's also in present tense, but I'm not sure how.
Does it make sense to use "once upon a time" in present tense? For instance:
Once upon a time in a faraway land, Princess $Name$ lives in a beautiful castle atop a high hill. She has a very busy schedule, each day slightly different from the last.
But that reads weirdly to me. Alternatively, if that doesn't work grammatically, is there another way to write "once upon a time" such that it sounds ok in a present tense sentence?
Update: In case anyone's interested, customers continued to complain every now and then so I changed it to this:
Long ago, in a faraway land...
Princess $Name$ lives in a beautiful castle atop a high hill.
If anyone else complains I will tell them to take it up with Star Wars ;) Though we did have someone complain that "atop" isn't a word, so I don't know why I bother...