Internal Dialog quirkiness ~ Clarissa Wild's Blog

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Internal Dialog quirkiness

So recently I've been reading and critiquing other people's works in exchange for the same. I often come across mistakes that are cringe-worthy to say the least, but sometimes also find mistakes that are easily looked over, because they're not actually mistakes, but more style problems.

For instance, a writer put his internal dialog in italics, but made it very narrative, instead of real thought patterns coming through on the pages.

Example: Danger alert! Panic mode on.

I know what the writer is trying to do, which is create tension for the reader, but this is not an internal dialog at all. One does not think like that. Do you? Do you think in terms of 'Danger!' and 'Alert' and 'Mode on' in your head? I don't.

Regular thought patterns are usually either questions or judgemental statements. People think in either of these 2 categories:
  • Question (i.e. What is he doing? Why is she here? etc.)
  • (Judgemental/emotionally loaded) statements or ideas (i.e. I don't like this. This is stupid. He looks amazing!)

There isn't actually any other internal dialog going on in your brain apart from those two. Sure, you can talk to yourself in your head, but it still falls into either categories. For example: What should I do today? I could go swimming. No, wait, I hate water. Nevermind. <- now if you read closely, you can see the first is a question, the second is a statement/idea, the latter ones judgmental statements.

In your books, you want your characters to be as close to a regular human as possible, even if they have magical powers. It doesn't matter what they are, but they need to have human thought patterns and human traits and emotions.

Because people want to relate to your characters. Books don't stick if people can't sympathize with your characters. This is a plain fact, for something to be successful, you need to engage people. So stick to these two categories and you'll be fine on the inner dialog part ;)

Anyway, that's it for today's rambling :)


Clarissa Wild


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