1. shywriter
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    shywriter New Member

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    Writing thoughts - don't know where to put this!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by shywriter, Jul 6, 2007.

    When writing in the 3rd person perspective, how do I write what the characters are thinking?

    In speech bubbles, like regular speech but with 'she thought'? Or in italics? Or some other means?

    I am rather confused as novels I have read have different formats.
     
  2. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately, I don't think the bulk of us have come to a consensus on that. You can read what's already written: Character Thoughts.
     
  3. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it depends if you are going to be an omniscient narrator in which you would know what she was thinking, as well as every other character. Then you coudl include direct 'she thought' type language, though I don't think it would be in quotation as they wouldn't be spoken, and hence not quotation.

    You could however be a more passive author where the characters thoughts are superfluous to narrative, as her actions and speech would furnish the reader with all the information needed for character development and narrative progression.
     
  4. shywriter
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    shywriter New Member

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    Thank you so much for your replies. I will have a good read of that thread now too :)
     
  5. shywriter
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    shywriter New Member

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    Oh gosh, now I am getting picky. I think I will try italics for thoughts, but what about noises? Would it be 'splat' or splat?

    I'm rewriting what I have just written, have noticed an inconsistency in what I write, and am trying to rectify that by sorting out some little rules in my head before I continue.

    Hmm...

    So far, as an example I have three possible outcomes for thoughts:

    1. "You were right again, father", she thought, "I’m just not ready yet".

    2. You were right again father, she thought, I’m just not ready yet.

    3. You were right again father, she thought. I’m just not ready yet.

    All in a seperate paragraph. I do feel that if I use number 2 then italics will seem a little overused, as I will also use them elsewhere, such as for place names.

    Number 3 simply looks a little strange to me.

    I wish I wasn't so fussy about such things!
     
  6. Max Vantage
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    Max Vantage Banned

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    That'll be the one. :)
     
  7. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe the majority of us are just as much of a nitpick as you feel you are. That being said, I think you should only use italics if there isn't enough to submerse the page... causing your readers to slightly tilt the book. However, I've heard some complaints that always saying "s/he thought" could become a bit of an eyesore as well.

    You could also find a book similar to what you are attempting and emulate it. Either way, keep it consistent throughout the book.

    Best in my opinion:

    As you shouldn't be mind-hopping, I imagine you can use the narration as the characters thoughts. By simply honing into what that character would observe -what's most important to them- you could better showcase that effect. (I believe this loosely paraphrases what 'Maia had said in the given forum.)

    ...Just re-read Gannon's post...

    No quotation marks around thoughts; that could thoroughly confuse readers. Hmm... guess he was saying a lot of what I just said. Oh well.
     
  8. shywriter
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    shywriter New Member

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    I think the problem lies in what I am trying to write. This is a new character, at the beginning of the book, completely alone, basically in the first scene (you can see it in the novel section, entitled Portal). Her father thinks that she isnt ready to be a hunter yet, and it seems he is right.

    I'm not sure that I know how to do that without 'she thought'. I've been stressing over it all night, which is pretty silly I think! I'm such a noob-writer.
     
  9. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do it too. It's really very annoying. Though once I start writing, I don't tend to think of it as much.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the best way to learn how to write anything, is to read constantly!... read the best examples of what you want to write... not the most popular writers' work, but the very best ones'...

    study how the ones who win the major writing awards write, not the ones who sell jillions of books to people who don't know the difference between good and poor writing [or do, but don't care]...
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, let's say you were watching this character throughout the day, seeing how she interacts with other people, what she does when she is alone. You would probably hae a pretty good sense of her general thoughts, even though you cannot hear her think.

    If you can write what you see that makes you understand what she feels, you aren't depending on the "she thought" shortcut, and you are also involving the reader in the exploration.
     
  12. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    The parts of your soul you refuse to recognize.
    Shat, is that what she wants from me, money?
    Shat, is that what she wants from me, money?
    "Shat, is that what she wants from me, money?"


    Frankly, I like the first one best, but I generally write in first person. So, just go with whatever works best.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    imo the first works best... and the third is totally incorrect for thoughts, as " " are only used for spoken aloud speech...

    as for the second, a good writer does't need to use font tricks to let the reader know what a character is thinking...
     
  14. shywriter
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    shywriter New Member

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    You know, I think I figured it out. Once I stopped panicking about it of course! I'm not using 'he though' any more. :)
     

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