Internal Monologue & Writing - Page 4


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Thread: Internal Monologue & Writing

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Out of interest, why don't you care for it? Just gimmicky or what?
    It's an example of something called "filtering" that puts the reader one extra step away from the story. Basically, whenever you put something explicitly through a character's eyes or perspective, you're removing some of the immediacy and engagement of the story.

    Bob could see her frown and knew immediately something was wrong. - filtering
    She frowned. Something was wrong. - no filtering

    The above example isn't the greatest because the second line adds some ambiguity, but it should be clear what I'm trying to get at. Similarly, internal monologue puts a filter - a character - between the reader and the story.

    Who had the motive to kill him? Steve thought. And that symbol the killer drew - I wonder what it means? - filtering
    Who had the motive to kill him? And the symbol the killer drew - what did it mean? - no filtering

    By taking out the mention of the character, you invite the reader to really step into the shoes of the protagonist. On the other hand, by writing it as a character's thoughts, you're reminding the reader that this is a story with characters (and often making them read extra on top of that). It's a subtle difference, but often the gap between good writing and great writing comes from the subtle things - things readers can't put a finger on, but just make them "feel" like one story is better than another.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
    It's an example of something called "filtering" that puts the reader one extra step away from the story. Basically, whenever you put something explicitly through a character's eyes or perspective, you're removing some of the immediacy and engagement of the story.

    Bob could see her frown and knew immediately something was wrong. - filtering
    She frowned. Something was wrong. - no filtering

    The above example isn't the greatest because the second line adds some ambiguity, but it should be clear what I'm trying to get at. Similarly, internal monologue puts a filter - a character - between the reader and the story.

    Who had the motive to kill him? Steve thought. And that symbol the killer drew - I wonder what it means? - filtering
    Who had the motive to kill him? And the symbol the killer drew - what did it mean? - no filtering

    By taking out the mention of the character, you invite the reader to really step into the shoes of the protagonist. On the other hand, by writing it as a character's thoughts, you're reminding the reader that this is a story with characters (and often making them read extra on top of that). It's a subtle difference, but often the gap between good writing and great writing comes from the subtle things - things readers can't put a finger on, but just make them "feel" like one story is better than another.
    I'm not an expert on this stuff, but I feel like you have it a little upside down. Internal monologue doesn't filter thoughts through the character. At the very least, it doesn't have to? When I write internal monologue, it looks more like this.

    He lifted his chin, pulling the knot in his tie a little tighter. Youíve got this. He winked. Stop, definitely donít wink at them. He pulled a stern face. No, you look like youíre interviewing to be someoneís damn body guard.
    If anything, I think the biggest criticism of this kind of writing isn't that it doesn't feel personal but that (1) It can feel gimmicky or pretentious and (2) It can become distracting, especially if it is overused. Nobody would want to read a story where this kind of stuff was happening constantly. However, I think when used in small doses it lends tension and immediacy -- intimacy, actually -- to a scene. It centers the narrative around the human being and makes it feel less like some distant observer.

    Of course, that only works if the thoughts seem somewhat authentic, which would be my main concern, and which goes back to the question about to what extent the writer really experiences internal monologue themselves and is therefore understanding of its 'voice'.

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