1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  1. Michael Thompson

    Michael Thompson Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Branson, MO

    A character's thoughts that are a question

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Michael Thompson, Nov 16, 2015.

    I have read a number of people opinions on using italics for thoughts... I think it's kind of standard to do so... With that in mind, how about when it's a thought that's a question?

    I have found many different answers for this, but I'm just not sure... In the book I am trying to write, this happens a few times and I'm not sure what the best format is when it come to the question mark in the thought.

    For example:

    How am I alive? he thought.
    How am I alive? He thought.
    How am I alive, he thought?
    How am I alive, he thought.

    assume the "How am I alive" part is in italics...

    Which one is correct? Where does the question mark go?
     
  2. xanadu

    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    436
    Location:
    Cave of Ice
    Purely from a mechanical/syntactic perspective, the first one is correct:

    How am I alive? he thought.

    It's just like dialog, except without the quotes. The last one would only be correct if it was not a question. The two in the middle are completely wrong.
     
  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,644
    Likes Received:
    5,567
    Location:
    London, UK
    If it's in italics, cut out the "he thought" entirely - you don't need it. Then it becomes:

    How am I alive?

    Or you could get rid of the problem with:

    He wondered how he could still be alive.

    I would do either of those things before I used any of the options you suggested, because I find them clunky.
     
    Tesoro and Imaginarily like this.
  4. Michael Thompson

    Michael Thompson Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Branson, MO
    Thanks... I have been leaning towards the first one...
     
  5. Gisella_M

    Gisella_M Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    17
    I also would leave out the 'he thought', the italics tell the reader that for you.
     

Share This Page