Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A gift of fiction is it lets us to express the unexpressed, thoughts.

One of the great gifts of fiction is that it allows us to express the unexpressed, thoughts. 

In fiction, we use interior monologue, which lets readers "overhear" the thoughts of characters. 

However, don't overdo it. Interior monologue is best used a little at a time, especially in a dialogue scene, as support for dialogue, not a substitute for it. Its virtue is unobtrusiveness.
A.    Never use quotes with interior monologue. It is poor style and ungrammatical. Thoughts are thought, not spoken.
B.    In your manuscript, do not use italics for interior monologue. A few amateur writers have started doing it but it is still completely wrong.
C.    Don't have characters mumble to themselves or speak softly under their breath.
D.    Interior monologue should be written in the same voice as the book. In other words, do not write interior monologue in first person if the book is in third person.

To make your interior monologue discreet and transparent, get rid of what are, in effect, speaker attributions.

Instead of:
I wish I had brought my book along, Bob thought.
Write: Bob wished he had brought his book along.

Instead of:
Had he meant to kill her? Not likely, he thought.
Write: Had he meant to kill her? Not likely.

You can also eliminate the crutch of "he wondered" by what editors call the Q trick.

Instead of this:
He wondered why he always ended up killing them.
Try this:
Why did he always end up killing them?

As long as readers know they're in the viewpoint of a particular character, they will know that interior monologue, without quotes, italics or little fuzzy slippers, is the thinking of the viewpoint character.

Interior monologue is - quite simply - what goes on in the brain of a character. When you are writing from the viewpoint of the character, you can let readers "hear" his thinking in the form of interior monologue.

That's an advantage of fiction over movies and television; in a book, we can be inside a person's mind. 

Interior monologue allows you to make known information, which would be difficult to bring out in dialogue, but it also gives your readers a feel for who your characters are. Interior monologue is a familiar way to establish a character.

Since interior monologue is so powerful and easy to write, many beginners tend to overuse it. Interior monologue is best written a little bit at a time, especially if it's in a dialogue scene, as a support for dialogue instead of a substitute for it.

Interior monologue serves to give us information, pose new questions, and it provides a slowing down from the non-stop action of the preceding scene. There's no need to say, "She thought" or put interior monologue in italics if it falls in the midst of action and dialogue so it's obvious she's thinking it.

You do not need tags like these:

His thoughts drifted to...
She wondered...
He thought to himself...

By the way, "he thought to himself" is redundant because there is no way he could think to someone else.

----- (From NOVEL SECRETS available in paperback and Kindle form.)

Lary Crews