1. SuperVenom
    Offline

    SuperVenom Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    South Wales

    So....he thought, Intenal Monologues.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SuperVenom, Nov 24, 2012.

    Internal Monologues and POV.

    Just want to check, I'm right in thinking if there is more than one character on the screen it is best to keep the internal monologues to just the stronger character in the scene.
    If the scene doesn't contain a/the Main character is it ok to internalize one of the supporting cast of they are in the scene.
    And lastly if there are 2 main characters can you use both internal voices or best to keep to the one that helps the story more. Always bugs me lol.

    Oh and im talking about 3rd person (which on a side note... is that the same as omnipotent view I've seen stated in some books?)

    Cheers guys
     
  2. BritInFrance
    Offline

    BritInFrance Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Central France
    You can use omnipotent if you want (depends on the story). It is better (in my opinion as a reader) to stick with one POV (so only have internal monologues for one person) for each section (be this a whole book, a chapter, etc) otherwise it can be confusing. Google "head hopping" to read more. You can tell an effective tale using 3rd person but only inside one persons head (not the same as omnipotent which means you have the power to get inside the heads of all characters - usually this is done in 3rd person though).
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    In general, stay out of characters' heads. If you must expose thoughts to the reader, limit them to a single POV character (not necessarily the MC), and don't overindulge even then.
     
  4. HarryArthurAlston
    Offline

    HarryArthurAlston New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is entirely subjective and depends on what you want to achieve through your writing; it is probably best to keep the thoughts you are displaying to just one character, unless you are writing from two perspectives (rare but possible). Try and portray other characters feelings through their narration. Keeps the reader guessing anyway.
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    if you are changing povs, then it's ok to include thoughts of whoever's pov you're in at the time... just keep it to a minimum, to avoid the charge of 'head-hopping'...
     
  6. Showpony
    Offline

    Showpony New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    You asked if 3rd person is the same as omnipotent view.

    I think you're confusing omnipotent with omniscient. Omnipotent means "all powerful", which a 3rd person point of view is not. Omniscient means "all knowing", which a 3rd person point of view could be.

    Sometimes the 3rd person is simply a narrator, describing the actions of the character or the setting. The narrator doesn't know what's going on in the heads of the characters, and this is only revealed through actions or dialogue. [He looked up and made eye contact with her. His face coloured. He dropped his pen, and his mouth hung open for a moment. "Um, hi" he stammered.]

    Sometimes the 3rd person can be omniscient, in that the narrator knows what the characters are thinking, and describe those thoughts. [He looked up and saw her enter the room. My god, she was beautiful. "Um, hi", he stammered.]

    Omniscient 3rd person narrators can also know what's happening to other characters who are not present in the scene. [Charlie called his wife to let her know he was working late. As the cordless phone in his kitchen rang, her lifeless body lay on the floor in a pool of her own blood.]

    You can go with either one. Personally, I think it's interesting if the narrator is not omniscient. I think it puts the reader more on the same level with the characters, and they experience the action and dialogue in a more natural way.
     
  7. JackElliott
    Offline

    JackElliott Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    12
    It's very easy: think of Third Person as a sliding scale. At one end is LIMITED, where the story is told from one pov and we (the readers) only know what that character knows, and at the other end OMNISCIENT, where the narrator knows all (but does not necessarily reveal all). An omniscient narrator can go back and forth on this scale at will, and the writing may even seem, at times, to be Limited.

    Google psychic distance. POV and Psychic Distance are related and in my opinion only make sense together.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. aljosa
    Offline

    aljosa New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ljubljana, Slovenia
    I personally don't find anything wrong with two separate internal monologues in a single setting, as long as is it's always clear who is doing the thinking. I believe, however, that the issue is making both monologues stylistically different. No two people think alike, so that should be reflected. A single point of view makes this much easier, because you can't really go wrong as far as style is concerned (and more often than not the internal monologue is actually the author's thoughts if they were in the situation), but if you use two, you have to set them apart somehow. I remember having similar difficulty trying to do a chapter in a novel from a different point of view, because it was really hard trying to give it a different feel. But if you can pull it off, I say go for it. :)
     
  9. SuperVenom
    Offline

    SuperVenom Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    South Wales
    Cheers guys, some awesome advice here, and JakElliott loving the sliding scale view point. Can look over it with fresh eyes now.
     
  10. Ian J.
    Offline

    Ian J. Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    London, England
    As a new member I've only just picked up on this thread, but it's something that particularly interests me.

    I'm finding myself unhappy with the idea that in writing we are now expected to stay out of characters' heads. The ability to go into a character's thoughts and feelings is something that writing can do with ease, and that is less comfortable to do in other mediums like cinema or TV (and radio). I wonder if the non-internal nature of those modern story mediums has now so affected the readers' viewpoint that they are unwilling to accept it in literature? Or is it the publishers insisting on it? Or a combination of both feeding off each other?

    For me, one of the things I enjoy most about writing novels is going into a character's thoughts and exploring their feelings. Without that I'd have to say I wouldn't want to write. In the past I wrote some simple screenplays, and while I enjoyed writing them and potentially could still do, I think being restricted to absolutely only show via character action and nothing else does feel very limiting.

    As for head-hopping (which I generally agree with is to be avoided), there is one situation where I really think it works: 'the battle of wills'. It could be, say, two or more characters in a conflict conversation around a table, or perhaps in a fight scene, or some other arrangement. I find that to be able to pop in and out of their heads to see how each deals with the others' words and actions and makes decisions on what to do next to be exciting. Of course, the author has to be quite clear who's thinking at each point in the 'battle', but if done well I find myself enthralled by it.
     
  11. BritInFrance
    Offline

    BritInFrance Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Central France
    I don't think you are expected to stay out of characters heads. You don't need to write ", he thought." to be inside a characters head (in fact I never write he/she/I thought). If you are writing from the POV of one character your character should start to speak and the style will be different from when you write from a different characters POV.
     
  12. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    You are not expected to stay out of character's heads. You are expected not to build a nest there and set up housekeeping.

    Be an observer. You have a pretty good idea what people around you are thinking an feeling, based on what you observe with your five senses. So instead of writing what you infer about their thoughts and feelings, write the observations. That's what people mean when they say "Show, don't tell." You don't have to take it to extremes, but always consider it as an available option.
     
  13. cazann34
    Offline

    cazann34 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Yip! I should say so. The omnipotent view, ie the voice of God or the voice of the narrator.
     
  14. Ian J.
    Offline

    Ian J. Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    London, England
    I think my problem with using what is observed, is the presumption that a character is always in some way in action, doing something that can be observed and inferred from. I don't feel my characters are always that active, sometimes they are inactive and in a reflective frame of mind which isn't showing itself, but whose thought and feelings during those times are important to their motives and goals.
     
  15. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    sez who?... there is no such rule and it's far from true, as cog explained above...

    not quite... there are a variety of 3rd person povs... omniscient [which means 'all-knowing' and not 'omnipotent' which means 'all-powerful'] is simply one of them...

    i suggest you both google for 'literary points of view' and study the various options...
     
  16. Ian J.
    Offline

    Ian J. Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    London, England
    Cogito said in his first post in this thread, which was the one I was 'worried' by:
    In his second post, I think he's implying that the writer shouldn't actually express the words of the thoughts and feelings themselves, but depict those thoughts and feelings in some external way, i.e., facial expressions, actions, etc.:
    My personal problem here is that I actually like to know what's motivating a character internally, to know their internal emotions, contradictions, worries, etc, and to spend some time inside the character's head. Very often such things are hard, if not impossible, to reasonably communicate via externalized references.
     
  17. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i don't agree with cog's 'in general' dictum, as it's too all-encompassing...

    as you can see in the most respected author's works, narrative will often include what a character is thinking or feeling, to good effect... and even direct thoughts are often useful... to do this successfully, study how the best writers do it...
     
  18. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Fair enough. I am admittedly biased from seeing too many current writers overstay their visits to characters' crania, resulting in agonizingly angsty novels. Not only teen novelists like the Stephanie Meyer, but even veterans like Patricia Cornwell. Her recent Red Mist finally got moving in the second half, but the first half was so full of mental second-guessing and paranoid suspicions that I was tempted to set it aside indefinitely.

    It is truly a matter of personal taste. But I still think it better to err on the side of restraint.
     
  19. Ian J.
    Offline

    Ian J. Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    London, England
    I think my biggest concern is that what I like writing, which includes but is certainly not in any way dominated by going inside the thoughts of characters, will not be understood or even wanted, by anyone. In my current test rework of a chapter of my second novel, I am also examining the characters in a way that their thoughts deliberately aren't reflected in their expressions and actions. Not really second-guessing between the characters, but certainly deceptive or confused behaviour. It's deliberate, but I worry that when others read it the criticism will be that I need to change everything to be 'more show less tell', when the contradiction or deception between a character's expression/action and their thoughts is part of what I'm exploring. I suppose it might just be another one of those things where I have to take the criticism on the chin and carry on regardless... :(
     
  20. JJ_Maxx
    Offline

    JJ_Maxx Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3,339
    Likes Received:
    502
    Well, as with everything in writing it has to be measured. Don't get so focused on the trees, you lose sight of the forest. Your characters ideas, thoughts and motives are just tools to progress your story. If they don't move the plot along, then they are just fluff and should be removed.

    As Cog said, don't linger in a characters head. Get to the point of showing deceit or doubt or whatever, and then get out.

    :)
     
  21. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i'm with you on 'red mist' cog!... i actually did have to set it aside indefinitely, when 2/3 in... i may go back and finish it if i ever get to where i have nothing else to read...

    and i can agree with not overdoing it, but not with 'in general stay out' which generally means 'don't do it at all'...
     

Share This Page