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message 1: by Joan (new)

Joan Carney | 19 comments I'm writing in first person, past tense. Is it wrong to sprinkle inner dialogue written in present tense with italics for emphasis?


message 2: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments That is what I do.


message 3: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4281 comments Mod
Joan wrote: "I'm writing in first person, past tense. Is it wrong to sprinkle inner dialogue written in present tense with italics for emphasis?"

If your story calls for it, no.


message 4: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments G.G. wrote: "That is what I do."

Me too XD

I reckon if it works for your story then it's all sorts of right, Miss Joan ^_~

Hugs,
Ann


message 5: by Joan (new)

Joan Carney | 19 comments Thanks guys. Now that I finished my MS, someone put that doubt in my head and made me worry about going back and changing it all. I'm glad to hear others are on the same page as me.


message 6: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4281 comments Mod
Joan wrote: "Thanks guys. Now that I finished my MS, someone put that doubt in my head..."

Don't let that happen. Whether it's a well-meaning friend who knows nothing about writing or a best selling author, no one has authority over your work but you. Now, it's fine to ask advice and weigh any suggestions that come along, but don't let anyone cast doubt over your work.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Sylus (ianksylus) | 13 comments The only one that gets in my head like that is my editor. That's not meant to sound like some all-powerful, gloating type thing. I just don't let people into my world or into my head with that anymore. I had the same problem; so many people put doubt in my head. It's why it took me until now (23) to actually have enough confidence to throw my work out into the world and hope for a bite.

Culture needs your writing. Write on!


message 8: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 888 comments Joan wrote: "Thanks guys. Now that I finished my MS, someone put that doubt in my head and made me worry about going back and changing it all. I'm glad to hear others are on the same page as me."

Listen to what people say. Chew on it for a very long time. But only act on it if it gives you a lightbulb moment. My closest friend and one of my beta readers actively hated the book that has been my most successful.


message 9: by L.J. (new)

L.J. Kendall (luke_kendall) I assume you don't literally mean you use italics for emphasis, but more to make it clear that it was a literal internal thought?

That's what I do, too. E.g.:

'Would you like me to do that for you, little one? I don't think you're strong enough, yet.'
'I am too!' Does he think I'm a baby? She didn't need his help! She'd do it by herself even if it took days.
In the end, it took five minutes plus getting cross with it for the last bit.


message 10: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I think it's pretty standard to use italics to express inner thoughts, and sprinkle them in with the conversation as long as they're not overwhelming it--depending on what's important, the inner thoughts or the conversation. Here's how I did it in a current WIP:

Guideran felt a momentary stab of fear, even as he was in awe of Najani's skills at being able to detect craft that were supposed to be undetectable.
“Are you certain, Najani?”
“Yes, sir. No doubt.”
So it begins. “Very well,” he said. “No change in my itinerary for now, but let me know if anything out there changes significantly.” He closed communications, returned to his chair, and sat down, deep in thought. Then he noticed that they were all watching him. He gave them a grim smile.
“And so it begins,” he said, repeating his thought aloud.


message 11: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Joan wrote: "I'm writing in first person, past tense. Is it wrong to sprinkle inner dialogue written in present tense with italics for emphasis?"

No.

And what Dwayne (both times).


message 12: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments There's a great book called Self Editing for Fiction Writers and they address this with a lot of detail. The short answer, you can do it with or without emphasis as long as it is made clear that the character is thinking to themselves.


message 13: by David (new)

David Edmonds | 45 comments Jane Jago wrote: "Joan wrote: "Thanks guys. Now that I finished my MS, someone put that doubt in my head and made me worry about going back and changing it all. I'm glad to hear others are on the same page as me."

Author=Authority
It is my name on the cover.
These are my brave words after nearly changing the entire tone of my MS after the criticism from my writing group.



message 14: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments I've seen trad pub do it. If they are allowed, why not us?
Besides, if you write in past tense and don't put your thoughts in italic, some people will say you mix your tenses. You can't win. :P
Seriously another way to do it is to leave it without italics and add the famous I thought, he thought, she thought instead. Personally I prefer the italic because it saves on tags.

So yeah, all this to say what David said. It's your book. If you think it works that way, leave it that way. Betas are good to have and they are often good at finding opsies but they are betas, not writers. Don't change your style on behalf of a few betas. Stay yourself.


message 15: by L.J. (new)

L.J. Kendall (luke_kendall) I'm quite sure it's fine to do what you describe; and if you want complete reassurance, I'm also sure you could find some of your favourite authors who are handling the same problem - showing the internal thoughts of a character - and skim through some of their books to see what they do. Maybe not everyone does it, but I'm sure it's very common.
But that several beta readers flagged it as a problem, that's a little interesting. My rule of thumb is that if more than one reader reckons there's a problem in the same place, then there's probably something odd going on, that's worth looking at. I find that when I'm sure what I've done is okay, it can mean that there was something else I'd overlooked that made them misread or misinterpret what I was doing at the place they thought was the problem.
To make a concrete example, if your internal italicised thought uses 3rd person instead of 1st person, then it's likely to be a mistake, yes. My editor picked up several instances where I'd done that. E.g. if in my example above I'd written:
Does he think she's a baby? would be wrong; and I think if I'd said Did he think I'm a baby? it would have been wrong, too, since she's supposed to be having that thought right at the moment, so she wouldn't frame it in past tense.
OTOH, it's not impossible for a character to frame a thought in 3rd person:
Good work, Leeth, now you're really screwed!
Or maybe you're putting it in double quotes (which I personally wouldn't do since it's not spoken dialogue, it's internal monologue). Basically, I'm saying they might be picking up on something else, so just have a double check.
Even more basically: check what they've said, dispassionately and calmly. But you're the author, it's your voice, and you should absolutely trust your instincts. Only you can write your story.


message 16: by Joan (new)

Joan Carney | 19 comments Everyone's comments have been so encouraging. Thank you so much!


message 17: by R. (new)

R. Billing (r_billing) | 228 comments I believe the correct way to do this is to put the sudden thought in italics and move back one tense, for example past to present.

(Jane believes that she died under interrogation and this is the afterlife. Then she works out what really happened...)

So why couldn't she remember the pain? Why couldn't she remember talking? Why did she feel that she was going to sleep again?
Later.
But what was later? What was time now that she was alone with her guilt for all eternity?
And if she was dead, why did her nose itch?
Nose? What nose?
Arthur, I'm going to kill you. This is now personal.
He'd never given her the next shot. He'd listened to her screaming, he'd probably enjoyed it, and given her another sedative instead. And then he'd put her to bed to sleep it off with earplugs in, and her eyes bandaged, and her hands. But not her teeth.


message 18: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments This is but one way to do it and not the only 'correct' way. One could put it as if it were a dialogue and add 'she thought' for tag and it would also be correct.

As long as you are consistent, and keep it the same through out the story, any way you want to do it should be fine.


message 19: by R. (new)

R. Billing (r_billing) | 228 comments Apologies! I meant to type "ONE correct way", there are of course others.


message 20: by C.B., Beach Body Moderator (new)

C.B. Archer | 1090 comments Mod
Italics are pretty much the universal standard for 'think speak' as best as I understand it.

Inner Dialogue, telepathy, broadcast mind messages. Whenever I see them used, they are in italics.

But you are the authority as many have mentioned! :)


message 21: by Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (last edited Oct 20, 2016 12:52AM) (new)

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments Regarding inner thoughts on a book written in the 3rd person POV, are we allowed to write the inner thoughts of more than one character in the same scene? My example below has italics in parenthesis because I don't know how to italicize text here. Sorry. Jane is the main character of my story.

Jane walked beside Dick down the empty hallway. (I hope he asks me out again.)
Blah blah blah blah for another 10 sentences or so of back and forth small talk.
Dick held the door open for Jane, noticing her friend waiting just outside the door. (So much for a private moment.)

I really want to show both their inner thoughts in this scene, but don't know if it's acceptable to do so. Thank you.

EDIT: To clarify, I do not jump back and forth between people within the same scene. Jane is the main character and the majority of the story is told through her eyes via 3rd person POV. This is a one time instance. Before this scene is verbal dialogue between Jane, Dick, and friend in the college classroom. After this scene is verbal dialogue between Jane and friend in friend's car. Thank you.


message 22: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 266 comments It's rare for thoughts to be in parenthesis but I have seen it in books (usually first person)
For the most part thoughts are in italics, with or without tags.
And sometimes folks think in a different tense. They could even address themselves in 3rd person.


message 23: by R. (new)

R. Billing (r_billing) | 228 comments Sue (Rescue Dog Mom) wrote: "Regarding inner thoughts on a book written in the 3rd person POV, are we allowed to write the inner thoughts of more than one character in the same scene? My example below has italics in parenthesi..."

There is really only one rule: Thou shalt not confuse the reader.

The problem with multiple POVs is that the reader can feel that they are watching a movie shot by a camera crew of drunk kangaroos. Close enough POV to get a character's internal thoughts puts the reader inside that skull and looking out through those eyes. Changing can break the illusion.

However like all rules there are ways around this. To prove it I wrote a short story "Gaudete" in which the POV changes in almost every paragraph. Our local writers' groups loved it. This is an extract:

The snow was beginning to settle on Anna now, not just a sprinkling on her cloak, but on her cheeks and eyelids as well. The melody still soared within her and she began to feel strangely warm, warmer than she had since the spring, when the soldiers had taken her father away. Warmer even than the summer evening when her mother had held her for the last time, and murmured things she couldn't understand.
Helier kicked savagely at his horse, urging it into a shambling trot. The sooner he was at the Abbey the better. He thought of blazing hearths, of roast meats on wooden trenchers and strong ale in goblets. And best of all the little ritual the brothers would hold to welcome him as their new abbot - the ceremonal washing of his feet with warm water and clean cloths. All he had to do was get out of this damned forest.

Adeste Fideles,
Laeti triumphantes.
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Natum videte regem angelorum.

Anna felt much better now, warm and comfortable inside her cloak. Her spirit soared with the music. It hardly needed her body any more. Someone was coming, someone important, someone she should move aside for. Only she couldn't move any more. Which was a pity, because she was a well-mannered little girl, from what had once been a good family.
Helier could hardly feel his feet in the stirrups. He'd never thought of hell as a cold place, but now he was ready to change his mind. There were lights ahead, and music. Surely this was the Abbey Church? He slid from the saddle, holding on to the horse with numb arms lest his legs should be unable to bear his weight, then, throwing the reins to his companion, half walked, half staggered towards the light and warmth. For a moment his foot caught in a bundle of rags, but he shook it free and walked on.



Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments K.P. wrote: "It's rare for thoughts to be in parenthesis but I have seen it in books (usually first person)
For the most part thoughts are in italics, with or without tags.
And sometimes folks think in a diff..."


KP - As I stated, I put the internal thoughts in parenthesis because I don't know how to type italics here. Thank you.


message 25: by G.G. (last edited Oct 20, 2016 04:51AM) (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments There are a few third person POVs with the most popular one being the limited one often called close. This pov is similar to first person pov in regards to following one character. So like for the first POV, the character shouldn't be able to know what someone else thinks or you wouldn't be able to say she never saw Joe hiding behind the door as she left the building. Simple, if she never saw him, she cannot tell the readers he was there. So these POVs can be tricky. Many things cannot be told. In this case, for the thought, you could say that he mutters it, which would mean, she heard it. She could dismiss it as improbable he said that, or that she imagined she heard it, but she has to have heard it. She can't know his thoughts.

Now you may also be using third person POV omniscient. It's the all knowing one. Like if the story was told from the eyes of God. He knows all. He hears all. You can do what you want with that one aside from confusing the readers. So you need to be clear on who is thinking what. (Even at that, there will always be people who will say you broke the pov because they're only thinking of the close one... Or that you are head hopping. BUT, remember, you can't please everyone, and there will always be someone who will think you did something wrong. Don't let it get to you.

There are other third person POVs too, but less popular.

So without knowing which one you are using, it is hard to advise you.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments G.G. - Thank you for your response. I guess I'm head hopping in that scene because I want the reader to know Dick's thoughts, don't want Jane to know. I suddenly realize how ridiculous that sounds, but my intent is to help the reader understand why he didn't ask her out.

I'm trying to use close POV, However, I have a short scene where Jane's grandparents are talking, which provides information Jane won't know until book 2, but is helpful for the plot. I also have 2 short scenes where 2 characters that are not in Jane's life, are talking. This information, along with the relationship between them, is necessary for when they are brought into Jane's life in books 2 and 3.

Do I have a problem bigger than I originally thought? Thank you.


message 27: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments could you do the short scenes in separate chapters? Doesn't matter if it is short...
if it happens about the same time you could gather it all in once chapter and have a subtitle to notify the readers. Or maybe do a scene break and start with : Meanwhile in her grand parents house or...you know, something that will lead the readers to know you are out of the POV. As long as you clearly state that you know Jane shouldn't be aware of it, I THINK it should be fine. Hopefully someone else will have more ideas for you.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments I should first explain my story is a young adult paranormal/fantasy romance. The outside POV events occur concurrently with the story. At this time I have the conversations in scene breaks and amount to about one page each. The two conversations between a sorcerer and warlock occur in another realm, all of which I describe. I start the other one with, "After Jane was asleep, her grandparents went into the den and closed the door."

In my opinion, it's clear and short, but that doesn't mean I'm right. Where's the Excedrin? : D

Thank you for your help, G.G. Greatly appreciated!


message 29: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments I think you should be fine. There will always be some who will find a way to complain, but from what you're telling me, you were responsible and you knew you should put it as an aside...not much else you can do. I'd go with that. :)


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments Thank you very much, G.G.


message 31: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 266 comments I saw that Sue, just pointing out that using thought in parentheses is still a valid but rare choice
.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments Hi K.P. Oh, okay. I didn't know that. Thank you.


message 33: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Sue (Rescue Dog Mom) wrote: "G.G. - Thank you for your response. I guess I'm head hopping in that scene because I want the reader to know Dick's thoughts, don't want Jane to know. I suddenly realize how ridiculous that sounds,..."

I understand your goal, Sue, but think about it this way, Won't it be a bigger surprise and maybe better one if the readers discover this at the same time Jane will? I think it would be a Oh moment. Sometimes not telling everything is a good thing. It keeps the readers on the edge of their seat. It keeps them thinking...


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments I completely see your point. I had initially tried to show Dick being frustrated, but not angry. That's when I went with the internal thought. I don't know how else to inform the reader something that Jane will never learn. Maybe I should have him tell her later? I keep thinking about this.


message 35: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments well you could leave hints that he is frustrated. Jane might not understand why, but the readers might. Later on if they end up together she could even ask him why he didn't do whatever that night and he could explain. There are many ways to play this. I know you can do it. :)


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments I've been trying to think of how to properly describe frustration without it sounding like anger. I'll keep at it.

Thank you again very much for your help. Hugs, Sue


message 37: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments She could perceive it as anger and not understand why, which could make it even more surprising at the reveal. You can post here and ask if it sounds more like anger than frustration if you want to.


message 38: by Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (last edited Oct 20, 2016 09:53PM) (new)

Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments Thank you, G.G. I'm going to keep at it because honestly, it has bothered me ever since I wrote it. I originally had him dragging his fingers through his hair, but know that's not enough. I'll have Hubby act frustrated and write down what he does. : D


message 39: by R. (new)

R. Billing (r_billing) | 228 comments To every rule there is an exception. The Narnia books appear to be in third, but in fact they are told from the POV of an absent narrator- Lewis himself.

The passage where He-Beaver first mentions the name of Aslan and the children all have different reactions would be an outrageous head-hop and completely break the thread were it not for the fact that about a page before Lewis said something like "when the children told me afterwards". If you notice it then you'd realise that all the children have to be alive at the end, which defuses the subsequent battle with the witch. Most of the time you don't, it goes through subliminally and simply fixes the POV problem.


message 40: by Joan (new)

Joan Carney | 19 comments I've been reading along with this discussion and I have to say: maintaining any POV is difficult as hell. I agree with G.G. about the surprise aspect. Those "aha" moments are precious!

As far as depicting anger vs frustration - there is a fine line there. There are many websites on the use and interpretation of body language that might be helpful (just Google body language interpretation). Also, the "Emotion Thesaurus" series are good resources for depicting how a character might react in certain situations.


message 41: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Emoticon Thesaurus, I love that book, Joan. It is a great help for sure.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments Thank you Joan. I also have The Emotion Thesaurus. : )


message 43: by Alfred (new)

Alfred Eyrie | 42 comments Don't forget the eyes. An irate glance cast in the direction of a source of frustration can communicate both the cause and the effect. Of course, the POV observing would have to notice at the time.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 968 comments Ok... I've been up over 30 hours now, not just working on my novel, but working on my novel a lot.

I removed inner thought and replaced it with some stilted actions, leaving her disappointed and confused as desired.

Thank you all for your help. I think I need another cup of coffee before I fall on my face. : D


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