1. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

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    Thoughts and contractions

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Quanta, Nov 7, 2016.

    I am writing a YA novel in third person limited. I don't use contractions in the narrative.

    "She reclined on her bed and fiddled with her phone while keeping an ear on Sage's movements. The much awaited occasion to try her experiment now filled her with trepidation. What if it did not work? "

    Should I use contractions in my MC's internal monologue?
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I would. It sounds stilted without them.
     
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I actually don't distinguish between narrative and internal monologue in my own works, but on a general note:

    If it's how the character speaks, then it's probably how the character thinks.

    If you wanted to have your character trying explicitly to repress a part of her personality, then you could have her make a conscious effort to speak differently from how she thinks naturally, but if she's more well-adjusted, then her thoughts/words won't have too many differences.

    That too.
     
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  4. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Erring here on, yes you should. Going on a sample size of me: I think much in the same way I speak (with a few routine contractions here and there). It'd be unnatural to extend my thinking time by splitting out my internal monologue—I'd have to consciously control it. Also, I'd say it depends on your MC's upbringing and whether attention in their formative years was paid to their elocution.
     
  5. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I think I just came up with a new writing prompt :D

    EDIT: I think I just did a thing
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
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  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Why wouldn't you use contractions in both the narrative and internal thoughts? What's the problem with contractions? I think most writers use them. I certainly wouldn't set out to avoid them.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I too am wondering why you're not using contractions. In a term paper or a textbook, sure, contractions might be eliminated. But in a novel, and more than that, a YA novel? Why do you want the narrative to be so formal? (And, if you do want to be so formal, the word "fiddled" seems inappropriate.)
     
  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Another vote for using contractions. Not just in thoughts but in the narrative as well.
     
  9. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    But avoid them in speech when invoking a pregnant pause. :)
     
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  10. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Don't labor that one, guy.
     
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  11. bonijean2

    bonijean2 Ancient Artists And Storytellers Rock

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    Don't contractions help make the world go 'round?
     
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  12. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Contractions should be employed in narrative unless you have a specific reason not to use them. And even then, it's a bit of a crap shoot. Narratives without contractions always feel funky. It throws off our inner rhythm because we use contractions SO frequently in speech.
     
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  13. Quanta

    Quanta Senior Member

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    My characters is just a normal girl next door, so it does make sense that she would think the same as she speaks. I have been using contractions in my dialogues, but I thought that avoiding them in the narrative meant better writing. I’ll blame it on language barrier, thought feel free to call it ignorance:D. I could just have opened any one of my favorite novels to see that contractions are commonly used. I suppose I didn’t notice because the contractions make the story flow, rather than make it bump along. I’ve had the awareness that my narrative was sometimes stilted, but I just chose to ignore it. It’s not a big problem, my manuscript it not in the mail yet. I can switch to contractions right now and I change what I have already gone over in my next draft.
    Thanks for the help!
     
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  14. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    No, that's gravity.
     
  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Squirrels. It's squirrels. That thing with the nuts is just a side job.
     
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  16. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Oh, sorry. How forgetful of me. And me a charter member of the Official Squirrel Club, too.
     
  17. bonijean2

    bonijean2 Ancient Artists And Storytellers Rock

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    Technically, it's angular momentum and that's the truth -
     

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