What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

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taylormillgirl
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What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by taylormillgirl » December 29th, 2009, 9:27 am

I'm in the seventh circle of revision hell. Among many other things, I'm questioning the way I've indicated internal monologue for my characters. I'm curious what your preference is.

A. Italicized thoughts in first person present tense: "Yes, sir." God, you're such a jerk.
B. Third person: "Yes, sir." God, he was such a jerk.
C All of the above, mixing and matching throughout.
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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by JenLT » December 29th, 2009, 9:33 am

Internal monologue in 3rd person POV needs to be italicized or in quotations marks. Either are correct, so you can mix and match between those all you want. My personal preference is italicized.

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by taylormillgirl » December 29th, 2009, 10:28 am

I used the italicized method in my novel, but now after reading several examples in "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers," I'm torn. I really like the seamless flow of option B.

Decisions, decisions.
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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by Harper Karcz » December 29th, 2009, 11:44 am

The use of italics to denote thoughts just makes me go ick, ick, ick. Quotation marks even more so (although the last time I can recall seeing quote marks used for thoughts, I think I was still carrying a bookbag to school...). While italicized thoughts are certainly still acceptable in fiction -- in some genres more than others -- I prefer the flow of Option B. It does a much better job of keeping you in the story and in the main character's head.
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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by taylormillgirl » December 29th, 2009, 12:06 pm

I've never seen thoughts quoted, not even in my younger days.

Anyway, italics don't make me go "ick," but I agree it disrupts the flow just a bit. At the same time, though, there's an element to the first person thoughts I enjoy...I just can't put my finger on why.

I think I'll rewrite a scene without italicized first person thoughts and see how that feels.
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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by askmonkey » December 29th, 2009, 2:19 pm

I agree. Go without the italics. Have you read How Fiction Works by James Wood? He shows numerous examples in classic and modern literature of seamless internal monologues in 3rd person. The book is a bit more literary than some how-to books but is an interesting read.

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by Scott » December 29th, 2009, 2:23 pm

I could be wrong, but italics are used for direct thoughts, or actual thought dialog. Commentary of other sorts is normal font. So mix and match, and of the two, I would use the former very sparingly. Very effective in breaking up the rhythm, though.

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by CharleeVale » December 29th, 2009, 2:49 pm

Method A seems to be the best for 3rd person to me. Method B seems like first person.

CV

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by kristi » December 29th, 2009, 2:52 pm

taylormillgirl wrote:I'm in the seventh circle of revision hell. Among many other things, I'm questioning the way I've indicated internal monologue for my characters. I'm curious what your preference is.

A. Italicized thoughts in first person present tense: "Yes, sir." God, you're such a jerk.
B. Third person: "Yes, sir." God, he was such a jerk.
C All of the above, mixing and matching throughout.
Wow - I'm in this same cycle right now and internal dialogue is one of the things I'm tweaking. Great suggestions!

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by JenLT » December 29th, 2009, 6:54 pm

A. Italicized thoughts in first person present tense: "Yes, sir." God, you're such a jerk.
B. Third person: "Yes, sir." God, he was such a jerk.
I misread choice B and thought it was the same as choice A, just not italicized. Oops. So, I would have to change my opinion. I like both methods. Rather than stick with one way, I'd chose how to handle it based on the sentence and paragraph. I'd go with whichever flows best.

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by marilyn peake » December 29th, 2009, 8:45 pm

I prefer to use normal, non-italicized font without quotation marks for internal monologue, communicating through the writing alone which character is experiencing the monologue. In rare cases, I'll use italicized font for this.
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Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by nitaloubryant » December 30th, 2009, 7:22 am

I'm glad this question came up because I have one that's related.

I don't use italics or quotes for internal monologue but I do use tags--usually the first time I'm making the reader privy to a character's internal monologue. Afterwards, only sparingly. (See examples, below, from different manuscripts.) What's the consensus on that?

Such names for these kids, Nora thinks. I’d name my baby something simple.

Shit. Ahead of schedule again, she thought.

Good, she thought. That makes him even more inappropriate. Not that anything’s ever going to happen.

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by taylormillgirl » December 30th, 2009, 8:35 am

nitaloubryant wrote:I'm glad this question came up because I have one that's related.

I don't use italics or quotes for internal monologue but I do use tags--usually the first time I'm making the reader privy to a character's internal monologue. Afterwards, only sparingly. (See examples, below, from different manuscripts.) What's the consensus on that?

Such names for these kids, Nora thinks. I’d name my baby something simple.

Shit. Ahead of schedule again, she thought.

Good, she thought. That makes him even more inappropriate. Not that anything’s ever going to happen.
Personally, it doesn't bother me. But Self-Editing for Fiction Writers advises against it. I suppose tags disrupt the flow, and readers will already know the thoughts belong to your POV character.
Author of hot & humorous romances, debut novel coming in 2012 from Sourcebooks!
http://macybeckett.com/

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by Ermo » December 30th, 2009, 10:46 pm

I write internal dialogue all of the time and I just let it flow. I think italics would just distract. I only use italics for a really, really important thought.

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Re: What's your preference re: internal monologue in 3rd ppov?

Post by OtherLisa » December 31st, 2009, 12:10 am

All of the above. It really depends on the situation.

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