1. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Indirect or direct interior monologue

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Stammis, Jul 19, 2015.

    What do you guys prefer? Direct or indirect interior monologue? Because I have found that I use both, should I stick with one or does it become confusing otherwise? Furthermore, in direct interior monologue should I use Italic instead of quotation marks? Also, at the end of the interior monologue I write "Fendrael thinks to himself"
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I use and prefer indirect internal monologue most often, though I don't have anything against direct thoughts. If you're using direct internal monologue, you don't have to use italics or quotation marks, or even tags, if you don't want to. If you feel you must use either italics or quotation marks, I prefer italics because the quotation marks already denote spoken words (unless you're using some other approach for the latter, but that's another issue).
     
  3. Clover
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    Clover Member

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    Usually I prefer indirect. I think it could be confusing to use both, at least if you're switching often. I would use italics; I find they're the best way to distinguish the internal monologue from the rest of the text and general speech. If you use it often, I don't think there's necessarily a need to add "thinks to himself" - if you're already discussing that character, it might be obvious from the context.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    No italics. No quotes. Usually indirect. Usually no need for a thought tag. If you do sometimes feel the need for "..thinks. or "...wonders." or some other thought tag, remember that thinking is always confined to one's mind (unless your story has telepathy) so there's no need for "...to himself." There's nobody else for him to think to.
     
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  5. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    I prefer to use both. I think variety is good to help maintain the reader's interest. I use italics for direct thought, but plenty of authors don't.
     
  6. C. W. Evon
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    C. W. Evon Member

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    If you're in first or limited third POV, just use indirect. No italics: they hurt people's eyes, burn cities, and kill cats. People will know it's the character's inner thoughts without the need to designate it as such.

    Example from my WIP (not a great example but you get the point):

    He pressed his ear to the door and heard quiet sobs. He swallowed and backed away. Should he go in? Would she want someone there with her? Truthfully, he didn’t want to go in there.

    It's pretty clear that these aren't my thoughts. These are Mile's thoughts.

    To me, both would be confusing. If you're consistent, it will be easier for the reader to recognise that what they're reading are the thoughts of the character.
     
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  7. C. W. Evon
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    C. W. Evon Member

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    Sorry--an example of when you might want to use the words "thought" etc.

    Mrs. Fredricks seemed to be taking the whole thing rather well, (better than Mother would, Miles couldn’t help but think). She sent her son west as she had sent him to war; chin running parallel to her shoulders, a tight smile on her face. She didn’t cry. Her lip never even trembled.

    I chose to use "couldn't help but think" here because I wanted to show that it is something Miles feels guilty for thinking. If I just said "better than Mother would," we wouldn't know how Miles thought it; "couldn't help but think" shows that he would rather not think that. So there are always exceptions.

    Also, if your character is thinking while another character is talking, you might say something like "so-and-so wasn't listening any more. She was thinking..." etc.
     
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