1. brichey
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    brichey New Member

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    Indirect free speech woes

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by brichey, Apr 28, 2013.

    Question about tense in my attempt at indirect free speech.

    ...
    “Adam Wilson? Are you sure?”
    “Yes, I’m sure,” Drake replied, but his mind was elsewhere. Was Charlene kidnapped by one of Antonio’s men?
    “Christ! Was Adam all right? Where is this sailboat?”
    Drake’s mind was racing. Maybe they took her to the sailboat.

    In an internal dialogue, would Drake use "Was" or "Had"?

    ...
    “Adam Wilson? Are you sure?”
    “Yes, I’m sure,” Drake replied, but his mind was elsewhere. Had Charlene kidnapped by one of Antonio’s men?
    “Christ! Was Adam all right? Where is this sailboat?”
    Drake’s mind was racing. They could have taken her to the sailboat.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's a direct quote of his thoughts, it should be in present tense:

    "Christ! Is Adam all right? Where is this sailboat?"

    But, IMO, thoughts should not be in quotes--it's too hard to tell what's spoken and what's thought. So I'd say that the tense is right and the quotes should be removed. And I don't think that the "mind was racing" is needed, though it's not incorrect or anything. So I'd change it to:

    “Adam Wilson? Are you sure?”
    “Yes, I’m sure,” Drake replied, but his mind was elsewhere. Had Charlene kidnapped by one of Antonio’s men? Christ! Was Adam all right? Where was this sailboat? They could have taken her to the sailboat.
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Note (I guess it was a typo): ...had been kidnapped by one of Antonio's men...
     
  4. brichey
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    brichey New Member

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    Indirect free speech, not a direct quote of Drake's thoughts.

    If the narrator's voice is in the past tense, then so is Drake's inner voice, if it is presented as indirect free speech. Or so I've read.

    Which is correct, past tense or past perfect tense? Or maybe the question should be, which sounds/reads better?

    Oh, and yes, I meant to insert "been" into the past perfect example.

    Thanks,
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Indirect internal dialogue is not a literal representation of the character's thoughts. It is the narrator's summary of the character's thoughts, so it uses the narrator's tense.

    “Yes, I’m sure,” Drake replied, but his mind was on whether Charlene might have been kidnapped by one of Antonio’s men.

    Direct internal dialogue is a literal representation of the character's thoughts.

    “Yes, I’m sure,” Drake replied, but his mind was elsewhere. Was Charlene kidnapped by one of Antonio’s men?

    Drake literally thought the words: Was Charlene kidnapped by one of Antonio’s men?
    It's plausible that these are the exact words Drake thought. It's also plausible that he thought: Has Charlene been kidnapped by Antonio's men?
    It's less plausible if you change Has to Had, unless Drake's grammar is flawed. But it's possible.

    Don't be thrown by the absence of quote marks. That is currently still the standard for internal direct dialogue. Use a tag if necessary to make it clear:

    “Yes, I’m sure,” Drake replied, but he thought, Was Charlene kidnapped by one of Antonio’s men?

    Check out He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.
     
  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oooh, lots of you are going to HATE this, but this is what I would do with this passage: :rolleyes:

    “Adam Wilson? Are you sure?”
    “Yes, I’m sure,” Drake replied, but his mind was elsewhere. Had Charlene been kidnapped by one of Antonio’s men?
    “Christ! Was Adam all right? Where is this sailboat?”
    Drake’s mind was racing. They could have taken her to the sailboat.

    Italics for THOUGHTS??? OMIGOD. OH NONONONONONO.......
     

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