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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

When your character has an internal thought how do you communicate it?

Example (self-doubt): What would happen if hers didn't as well? she wondered with trepidation.

What would happen if hers didn't as well? she wondered with trepidation.

'What would happen if hers didn't as well?' she wondered with trepidation.

And is 'she wondered with trepidation' redundant since the italics or the quote marks are signaling a thought?
 

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I moved to italics to make it stand out. The 'she etc' is not redundant to me as she could be thinking it in anger or sadness, etc. as well, right?
 
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Italics, usually.  If it's less of a conscious thought, though, I just describe it in normal 3rd person.  Basically, if it's a voice I would hear in my mind, it goes down as italics.

The fact that so many of my characters think this way is probably not a good sign...
 

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Nonitalics if it's not a direct quote of a thought. Italics if it is a direct quote. Or, put another way, is this something the character could say out loud, and have it make sense? If so, italicize it. If not, it's indirect, no italics.

Thus, for instance:

Oh, crikey. Those lions look hungry, and I'm covered in raw hamburger!

But:

Those lions looked hungry, and she was covered in raw hamburger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
S. Shine said:
I moved to italics to make it stand out. The 'she etc' is not redundant to me as she could be thinking it in anger or sadness, etc. as well, right?
Right! That's what I was thinking Shine - glad I'm not alone.

Hmm Joe that does make sense - thanks!. To my consternation a lot of the plot for my first book was a character's internal thoughts, actions + physical experiences. I've been making a conscious effort to include more dialogue. If I ever have a telepathic character this will get really complicated, really fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Courtney Milan said:
Nonitalics if it's not a direct quote of a thought. Italics if it is a direct quote. Or, put another way, is this something the character could say out loud, and have it make sense? If so, italicize it. If not, it's indirect, no italics.

Thus, for instance:

Oh, crikey. Those lions look hungry, and I'm covered in raw hamburger!

But:

Those lions looked hungry, and she was covered in raw hamburger.
Thanks!
 

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If it's a statement about what a character is feeling, as in 'Linda wondered why he would do that', I use normal lettering.

If it is a direct thought, as in 'Why would he do that? Linda wondered', I use italics.
 

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From "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers", by Browne and King:

But if italics, first person, or separate paragraphs are to be rarely used, what's the norm? How do you set off your interior monologue when you're writing with narrative intimacy? Quite simply, you don't. One of the signs that you are writing from an intimate point of view is that the line between your descriptions and your interior monologue begins to blur. Readers move effortlessly from seeing the world through your character's eyes to seeing the world through your character's mind and back again.
 

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Courtney Milan said:
Nonitalics if it's not a direct quote of a thought. Italics if it is a direct quote. Or, put another way, is this something the character could say out loud, and have it make sense? If so, italicize it. If not, it's indirect, no italics.

Thus, for instance:

Oh, crikey. Those lions look hungry, and I'm covered in raw hamburger!

But:

Those lions looked hungry, and she was covered in raw hamburger.
I do the same. Internal dialogue=italics.
 

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Telepathy can be typeset with non-standard quotation marks. (A-la-brainpals in Scalzi's OMW follow-on work.)

In Dire Calls I have a totem spirit which communicates with my MC. When they talk (and talk is a rough description of what the spirit does, as it's more emotion/instinct than speech) I revert to italics.
 

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swolf got it right - I was just going to recommend that book

any kind of thinker attributes are actually a sign of amatuer, hack-writing according to Browne and King

setting off internal dialog in italics without speaker attributes is one step above-if handle artfully-but still makes me cringe a little when I see it (cuz it usually ain't handled all that artfully)

an example of the line blurring between narration and character thought is something like:

Amanda approached the podium slowly. The bright lights mercifully cloaked the true size of the crowd. As Rick passed her on the stairs, Amanda thought she heard him wish her good luck in an unethusiastic mumble. Poor Rick. His presentation didn't exactly captivate the audience. What would happen if hers didn't as well? Amanda quickly put the thought out of her mind. No time for that now. Just get this thing overwith, girl. She quickened her pace and arrived at the podium with a vigor she hoped would carry her through her opening remarks before her brain had time to catch up with her mouth.
 

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Yeah, if your point of view is consistent you don't need to say the character is thinking something, it should be obvious to the reader.

I generally only use italics for 'telepathy', when I need to show that some characters can hear it and others can't.
 
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Beer4brkfst said:
any kind of thinker attributes are actually a sign of amatuer, hack-writing according to Browne and King
Guess I'll just keep hacking away then. ::)

In all seriousness, though, I use both.
 

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I didn't use italics in my series because forgein words and phrases are in italics and it would get confusing. I did the "He thought he saw..."  Well, he thought, that was totally a waste of time...

Etc.
 

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Courtney Milan said:
Nonitalics if it's not a direct quote of a thought. Italics if it is a direct quote. Or, put another way, is this something the character could say out loud, and have it make sense? If so, italicize it. If not, it's indirect, no italics.

Thus, for instance:

Oh, crikey. Those lions look hungry, and I'm covered in raw hamburger!

But:

Those lions looked hungry, and she was covered in raw hamburger.
This is what I do.

In general, I like to keep in a close third, so most of my characters thoughts are not in italics, as they are not direct first person thoughts.

But sometimes I do feel the need to reveal direct thoughts from the character. In this case, I italicize them and don't put "He thought" afterwards.

Example:

"Nice weather, isn't it?"
Gah. Why did I say that? Any way I could be dopier? Nice weather. I sound like an eighty-year-old. Might as well start complaining about my aching joints.
"Mmm." Sadie fiddled with her backpack.
Think of something brilliant to say. Think…of…something. She's bored. "Did you see the new end of the world movie?"
Nice one. Girls don't go see end of the world movies. Duh. They like romantic comedies and sexy vampire movies. Real smooth, Aaron.
"No, but it looks good."
Aaron grinned. "I know, right?"
Hallelujah. She likes end of the world movies. Hot dang.
 

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Caddy said:
I didn't use italics in my series because forgein words and phrases are in italics and it would get confusing. I did the "He thought he saw..." Well, he thought, that was totally a waste of time...

Etc.
I have both an abundance of foreign words and italicized direct thoughts. Sometimes a page will get a little...italic-y, but it works and nobody's complained (yet :p)

In my romance series, which is 3PL (my fantasy series is 3PO so I do things differently) I use italics for direct thoughts. No quotes unless they're remembering a quote/dialogue. No attributions. Readers are already in this person's head so they don't need the tags. I also use free indrect thoughts as well. I choose which to do based on whether or not I want to represent the character's direct thoughts at that instance, since they tend to have heavy voices. (And one of them is a very big potty mouth.)

For my 3PO I mostly use free indirect thought, or attributed thoughts with no italics.
 
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