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I have this part in a story, and I have no idea if it should be would or will:

I looked at the Merrimack River, always so big and beautiful. On the riverbend, the trees started blossoming with the coming spring. Soon everything would be full of life and birds. But as of now, most trees still looked dead.

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'would' is correct here.

This sentence is future-in-the-past. The rest of the paragraph is set in past tense, and this sentence describes what would happen looking from that past time into its future.

if the whole paragraph were changed to present tense, 'would' would change to 'will'.

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