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Author Topic: writing thoughts
ethersong
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I've been having some difficulty with writing the thoughts of the characters. I know that sometimes they are done like dialogue, sometimes with italics, and sometimes just written into the text.

When is the appropriate time for each of these three types? When i say "he thought" do I have to put the thoughts in quotes?

This is assuming that I'm in third person. However, if you are in third person limited, where you are focusing on one character (not sure if I used that term right), do you have to say they are thoughts?

[This message has been edited by ethersong (edited February 15, 2006).]


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Monolith
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There are many ways to do that.

I use italics for thoughts in my stories, usually followed by he thought or something like that. Wondered is also one that I've used before.


-Monolith-


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Johnmac1953
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Hello Ethersong,
Like Monolith says there are many ways...I've used italics as well, but I've seen examples where this can spoil the page!
Wondered/thought/consider/deliberate just a few options on Word when you ask for alternatives, I love my Thesaurus - it helps too
Hope this helps.
Best Wishes
John Mc...

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Leigh
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I often use dialogue, but to those who read my work it they all see my MC as an insane egolamaniac (sp?) who rambles. I sometimes use italics, but as John MC said it can ruin the page.
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Silver3
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I don't use dialogue, mainly because I've seldom seen it done well.

Italics are fine, but as Johnmac1953 points out, they tend to drag the story down. I find it simpler to put a "he/she thought" if the penetration warrants it, and to leave the thoughts in standard format. I change paragraphs when I get out of the MC's thoughts, in order to reduce possible confusion.

If you're in deep 3rd-person, though, you don't even need the "he/she thought". Check out OSC's "Characters and POV", which sums up the problem pretty well.


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wbriggs
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Light penetration:

I'll never see the point in this sort of thing, James thought. The evil robot monkeys are on their way. Why does Maria insist on talking about rotisseries?

(Just like dialog, but no quotes.)

Deep penetration:

James never had seen the point in this sort of thing. The evil robot monkeys were on their way. Why did Maria insist on talking about rotisseries?


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Minister
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What always trips me up is whether or not I can use the "I" without the "he thought" tag. Probably not for the first occurrence, but it sure is a nuisance avoiding first person throughout a short story or novel length piece. So, after the 3rd limited has been established, could I simply go with:

James slammed the door. I'll never see the point in this sort of thing. The evil robot monkeys are on their way. Why does Maria insist on talking about rotisseries?


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Survivor
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If you're writing in POV, then everything is something the POV character percieves, thinks, or does.
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ethersong
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So if you choose one style, should you stay consistent or can you change?

And also, if you use italics for emphasis, can you also use it for thoughts?


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Silver3
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Stay consistent, definitely. You don't wanna confuse people.

Same with italics: use them for one thing only. Avoid having your reader wonder whether you meant to emphasize the whole sentence, or whether it's the MC's thoughts.


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pantros
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Stay consistent.

Every expository sentence is a thought of the PoV character. he thought, she thought can be thrown in here or there, but are generally unnecessary.


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