As a writer, we want our characters to come across as credible and believable. Internal thoughts are part of bringing our characters to life. So, what is the correct way to write what characters are thinking?
Reasons to Use Internal Dialogue:
- To make characters real to our readers.
- Show vulnerability – to help connect readers to the character.
- For dramatic effect – when you want to emphasize something important. Readers tend to remember emphasized moments.
- To show the character’s motivation.
Ways to Show Internal Dialogue
- Using the tag, “He thought.” I wish Stephen would leave well enough alone, she thought.
- Italics: Why can’t Stephen leave well enough alone? Italics are my favored method to show internal dialogue.
- Intermingling thoughts with narrative. Claire stared out the window. Why couldn’t Stephen be happy with the status quo? She didn’t have a clue what answer she’d give him this weekend.
- Using quotations – for the most part, is not recommended, even single quotations. Because quotations denote dialogue, it can confuse to the reader.
Do you find one method preferable over another? Why?
Want more on Formatting Internal Dialogue? Check out Grammar Girl’s, Quick and dirty Tips.com
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