1. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    How do you write character thoughts?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Daniel, Apr 15, 2007.

    Okay, I'm just curious... what's the best way to write character thoughts out?

    With quotes?
    Italics?
    None?
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Whatever you want. If in 3rd person, I usually do italics. If it's in 1st, you obviously don't have to worry.
    The point is, the best way is whatever way you want. There is no set way.
     
  3. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Crazy Ivan... that's what i'd normally do. So long as it's quite obvious that they're thughts any format is pretty much ok... I just think italics are the best.
     
  4. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Ditto. I like italics.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    With quotes?

    ...never, since they're properly used only for spoken dialog, not thinking...

    Italics?

    ...too many misuse and overuse them for thoughts... imo, they're only called for if the inner dialog goes on for a paragraph, or more....

    None?

    ...none are necessary, a good writer can let the reader know the character is thinking, without resorting to italics...
     
  6. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    I only write in the first person, so, naturally, I just use them as natural sentences. It just comes naturally.
    Is more or less a fair example of how I write thoughts out on paper. Kinda like the character has a running diary in their head.
     
  7. Jaclyn
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    Jaclyn Active Member

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    I read a book where the author used quotes to write a character's thoughts, although this isn't proper I felt it was quite effective.

    Personally, I wouldn't use italics because I find sometimes they can make the text appear messy.

    The most effective approach to your question is to find a creative way to weave your character's thoughts in to the narrative.
     
  8. Sophronia
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    Sophronia Member

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    It's totally up to you what you use. If you use dialogue or italics for thoughts, I would suggest specifying who the character is and if they're speaking or thinking. I've seen a couple of stories that use symbols and stuff *can't think right now XD* besides dialogue and italics for thoughts and dialogue, like the book "Black Gryphon" by Mercedes Lackey uses colons :: some sort of phrase :: and the "Animorphs" series by K.A. Applegate uses the arrow things XD *still can't think* < some sort of dialogue > Anyways, those are my suggestions.
     
  9. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with maia on this one, I have seen alot of books that have italics and so forth and sometimes yeah it works ok, but there are also those books that is really does work out terrible and they'd of been better off not doing it as you could tell quite easily that it was characters thoughts.

    Basically just do what you are most comfortable with and what works for you is my suggestion.

    ~Torana
     
  10. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I guess that makes sense. Italics seem to be the standard for thoughts, so I guess they're best. Or maybe not at all.
     
  11. Max Vantage
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    Max Vantage Banned

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    Or you can blatantly state that they're thoughts:

    What a rat-infested mess, he thought.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    they're not 'standard' among the majority of the best writers [not necessarily the most popular]... and are definitely not 'best'...

    max has nailed the simplest, clearest, most reader-friendly method... and it's the one most of the best writers use...
     
  13. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    What determines a best writer is a matter of opinion. I guess it's more of a style preference than anything else.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whenever i use the term 'best' in re writers, i am referring to the acknowledged best... those considered by the arbiters of the literary world to be well above the mean... i would have thought that would be understood... would anyone interested in being a writer think pen, pulitzer, booker, caldecott, or nobel winners not among the 'best'???
     
  15. IndianaJoan
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    IndianaJoan Contributing Member

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    I believe that Italics are commonly used in dream sequences? It was also my understanding that italics represent characters thoughts.

    I agree with mamma in regards to using the "she thought" "he thought" but only if it doesn't make the paragraph too wordy.

    I believe that just as you can overuse the good ole "he/she said" you can just as easily overuse " , he/she thought".

    I would have to say that how you do it depends largely on what you're writing, how lengthy it is, etc.

    I was told by an agent that rejected my manuscript to use italics to represent thoughts. Other than that..my opinion is only my opinion *shrug*
     
  16. Max Vantage
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    Max Vantage Banned

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    No. I define for me what is best. Not the industry...any industry.
     
  17. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Many people would, yes, I'm sure.
     
  18. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Hmmm... weird. Perhaps that was a guideline you overlooked?
     
  19. SB108
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    SB108 Member

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    it seems that when I write, I just write down his thoughts as they are, no italics, no quotations.

    Dontae slumped into the lounge chair, defeated, as Cybil went back to reading her magazine yet again. He sat for a few minutes, thinking. He couldn’t help looking at Cybil; she reminded him of somebody. His mother maybe. His mother was a small, angry woman. She felt as if the world had it in for her, and that no matter how bad things got, they could always get worse. She died when he was fourteen, drunk and crazy, hating herself, and hating the world that killed her husband. She was drunk at the funeral.

    I'd never really thought about this until I read this thread. I might be wrong in hw I'm writing his thoughts down, but it just feels natural.

    Sometimes if it's a short, but imprtant thought, I'll put single quotations around it:

    "One of the other girls said they saw a strange teal light outside, and Miranda's bed is all messed up, as if there was a struggle or something!”

    ‘There was a struggle alright…' Danny thought to himself.
     
  20. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I've seen lots of people do it like that...but it always seems kind of unprofessional and throwing off the groove. (Y'know. The groove. The groove.)
     
  21. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Horrible... use italics people.

    Forget mamma's advice; it's old and obsolete
     
  22. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Well, this is bound to turn ugly.

    So my final comment is: Use italics. And now I jump out of the topic before it heats up.
     
  23. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Eyez, mind your diction.

    As for me, I rather like using 's/he thought' instead of italics. However, I feel as though the publishing company's wishes are much more prevalent. So what I would recommend is finding a couple books by a selected company and see what their authors have done. Also, there may be some information on a website of theirs.
     
  24. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    S/he thought is pretty clear, but you may not to be limited exclusively to that. It can sound tedious if your character is revealing a series of thoughts, especially if he or she is also speaking aloud. An example might be where a character is interrogating someone, but you wish to show the reader the purpose of each question.
     
  25. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good writers don't need to use either 's/he thought' or italics, it'll be clear to the reader that the character is thinking, vs the narrator narrating...

    as for:
    ...yeah, it's not only 'unprofessional' and groove off-throwing, but also incorrect usage, as single quotes are properly used only for a quote within a quote... unless you're in the uk, where the singles are used for quotes themselves and the doubles within...

    ...bottom line: whatever you use, be consistent... if the publisher doesn't like it, it'll be changed, anyway...
     

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