1. Oswulf
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    Oswulf New Member

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    Thoughts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Oswulf, Jan 21, 2013.

    Hello everyone!
    My novel is in the 3rd person but the viewpoint is very much from one character. Is it bad style to miss out all the "...he thought", "...he pondered", etc. when there are actually quite a lot of them.

    E.g. John ran into the lot of them, knocking them into the river. God-damn nuns. Why can't they just get out the way?

    as opposed to John ran into the lot of them, knocking them into the river. "God-damn nuns. Why can't they just get out the way?" he thought to himself.

    Do you think I need to qualify that it isn't the narrator's voice or is it obvious? The problem is that I think the word "thought" might be the most used word in my first chapter and I wanted to know if I can cut it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Whatever you choose, I would make it consistent with the rest of the piece. You want to have a decent word economy, so saying more than you need to is usually not a good thing. To say 'he thought' versus just what he thought in italics... well, I would do the latter if I absolutely had to do it.

    Personally, I think the whole 'in his head he's thinking this: blah blah blah' routine is overused and cliche (yes, yes, everything is cliche). If he's running a bunch of poor little nuns into the river, I think readers can gather he's angry and that they were in his way. So, flatter their intelligence and don't even put the thought in.

    Try and show what he's thinking instead of coming out and just saying 'my character is thinking this and this.'

    my 2 cents.
     
  3. Oswulf
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    Oswulf New Member

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    Thanks! I was just using a random example but I will bear this in mind.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your first example is much better. With a consistent third person limited POV, there's no need to keep specifying that he's thinking his thoughts, seeing with his eyes, hearing with his ears, any of that.

    Edited to add: And no need to put the thoughts in italics. Your first example, with no typography tricks, works just fine.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that, cf!
     

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