Oh, the joy of belching out that stream of consciousness, allowing the character to speak freely, the ability to drive the story deeper, delving into the inner most thoughts of a character's mind...It's just so fun!
I enjoy reading first person narratives too. And I've been discovering something lately...
Crafting good internal dialogue is tougher than it looks.
And so I've compiled four things to watch for:
1. Info. Dumps. (see my previous post for more). Internal dialogue is probably the most confusing place to dump information because, really, if the character knows so much why are they in that pickle? Nothing launches me quicker out of a story than when a character reveals information via an internal narration that they shouldn't know. Which leads me to the next point...
2. When internal narration becomes just plain narration. Ever read an internal dialogue and suddenly feel like its off somehow? When that happens to me, I go back and reexamine (which means I'm no longer in the story. Which is bad btw) and usually find the voice has changed somehow. I'm no longer in the character's head, but the narrator's head.
3. Character dumps. This is similar to information dumps, but the information is specific only to the character. Let me explain.
When I write first drafts I allow the character to share with the readers all their deepest fears, their challenges, their struggle in long, drawn out internal dialogue blocks. I find this useful in getting to know the character better. The trouble comes when it's left intact and not edited, because in the strictest sense, this is telling, not showing! Don't agree?
Well then, ask yourself:
How much stronger would a scene be if the character enacted or lived their deepest fear instead of telling the reader they had one?
4. Not enough internal dialogue. Does that seem possible? Probably not! But I've read some ya books lately that go a bit too far with culling and cutting back internal thoughts and dialogue. The action's great! But where's the reaction? Sometimes, it makes it harder for me, the reader-who-is-now-the-character understand or empathize with the character's plight.
What do you think? Love/hate internal dialogue?
I'd be happy to hear from you!
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