The statue of the Greek goddess looking over her shoulder at her butt looked funny to Crystal.
The statue of the Greek goddess looking over her shoulder at her butt looks funny, thought Crystal.
The statue of the Greek goddess looking over her shoulder at her butt looked funny to Crystal, Matt saw.
As I get farther into what can only be described as Mad Writing Skilz (OK, not true...it can also be described as not sucking at storytelling), I hit on the sometimes subtle distinction between thoughts and narration. Dialogue is, of course, something I've blogged about ad nauseum, and thoughts are kind of a small subset of that. Specifically, dialogue is a conversation between two people, monologue is a conversation involving just one person, and thoughts are an unspoken monologue. Happens all the time in real life, doesn't it? I've had entire conversations with myself in my own head without ever speaking anything aloud, honestly, and so I have to come to one of two conclusions: either a) I'm normal and so all my normal characters will have the same mental monologues going on sometimes, or b) I'm stark raving mad and so all my stark raving mad characters will have the same mental monologues going on sometimes. There are, of course, a lot fewer mad characters in my book, but I have to lean toward option a) anyway because, if it's b), then...well, why worry what people think of my book?
Part of the issue, then, is when to use a character's thoughts to tell the ongoing story and when to use narration, which is by far a simpler method where I, as the guy writing the book, tell the story in the wonderful third party past tense that I've been using. However, there's another part of the issue...point of view. I've discussed that a touch already, since it's an important aspect of storytelling. In a nutshell, as an author of a third person story I'm not beholden to any one particular point of view, but it is kind of expected that I'm not going to flippity flop between them. In other words, I'm not supposed to tell you what Crystal is thinking one moment and then what Bob is thinking the next, and then the next paragraph tell you what Matt is thinking (matter of fact, you'll find, if you ever read the story, that I NEVER tell you what Matt is thinking. That's on purpose). Were I to let you in on what everybody's thinking, that would seem like God mode, honestly. Even MZB put limits on the telepathic variety of laran. It would just...feel...wrong.
Writing.com has a good, short article on how to write the thoughts of a character. Most of their suggestions snap in to other comments and warnings I've read about various aspects of writing. Don't snap the reader out of the sense of tense. Don't annoy the reader with too many Tags of Redundancy (he thought...he thought...he thought...he thought...done well, it's pretty dang obvious that the text written is what the character thought). And only use direct "quotations," if specifically worded thoughts can be called that, if they actually add to the story.
Still working on getting the text "just right," so back to it now.....