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View Full Version : In writing fiction how do you handle internalized thoughts? Are Italics enough?



Pamster
01-14-2007, 09:03 PM
Like for instance this line:

Why do we have to do this stupid stuff anyway? It doesn't prove we can do good at anything. I wish I could do it better and make those girls shut up, Patty thought to her self, still fighting to hold in her emotions.

Are the italics enough or should it have a single quote like this and italics?

'Why do we have to do this stupid stuff anyway? It doesn't prove we can do good at anything. I wish I could do it better and make those girls shut up,' Patty thought to her self, still fighting to hold in her emotions.

(Hope this is the right forum for this inquiry...)

Siddow
01-14-2007, 09:49 PM
JMHO, but I would skip the italics if you have 'she thought' in there. That makes it clear it's a thought. Plus, I'm not really fond of italics; think about it: if you put every line that was a thought in italics, you'll most likely end up with a lot of italics. Also, I would change 'she thought to herself' to simply 'she thought', because who else would she be thinking it to?

Pamster
01-14-2007, 10:09 PM
Good points Siddow, thank you for replying. :D

Stormshine
01-14-2007, 10:49 PM
I use italics occasionally when I have a thought that I really want emphasized. For instance, in my WIP my main character thinks I'm going to crash into the sea.

It just doesn't seem to be enough to just say that she realized she was about to crash into the sea. It's not really an idle thought.

I agree with Siddow that you don't need both italics and 'she thought' in there.

Pamster
01-17-2007, 12:19 AM
Welcome to the Cooler Stormshine. :) Thanks for posting. :D

Puma
02-18-2007, 06:50 PM
I'm bumping this up to see if we can get some more opinions on how to handle thoughts in writing. What's the best way to do it ...

1. Enclose thoughts in single quotes
2. Put thoughts in Italics
3. Do nothing with them, no special handling

I hope some of the grammar gurus find this thread and reply. Thanks. Puma

scarletpeaches
02-18-2007, 07:00 PM
How exactly would one externalise thoughts anyway?

Sandi LeFaucheur
02-18-2007, 08:47 PM
Because I write in first person or in third person limited, I use italics for thoughts without any tag. But I use thoughts--and therefore italics--sparingly.

maestrowork
02-19-2007, 12:05 AM
Italics.

In first person, however, italics are not necessary.

If you use a tag like "he thought," italics are not necessary: What a son of a bitch, he thought.

Duncan J Macdonald
02-19-2007, 12:27 AM
Italics.

In first person, however, italics are not necessary.

If you use a tag like "he thought," italics are not necessary: What a son of a bitch, he thought.
I'd argue that from a first person POV, even the tag is unnecessary.


I watched Mary saunter into the room. She had the most gorgeous eyes, but wearing that dress, no man who was still breathing would look higher than her chest. Damn but she was stacked. "Nice dress. It goes with your eyes."

Mae
02-19-2007, 12:36 AM
IMHO, italics are fine if not overused. No quotes needed.

Silver King
02-19-2007, 12:44 AM
How exactly would one externalise thoughts anyway?
By speaking.

maestrowork
02-19-2007, 12:53 AM
I'd argue that from a first person POV, even the tag is unnecessary.

Of course, I didn't say it was.

Jamesaritchie
02-19-2007, 02:03 AM
Quotation marks are only for words spoken aloud. Italics are only for words and phrases that are supposed to be emphasized.

ErylRavenwell
02-19-2007, 10:07 AM
Internalized thoughts?

Well, don't set them with quotes. Second example is correct (many writers do that). But if you tag it with "thought", then I'll suggest you use past tense for continuity.

scarletpeaches
02-19-2007, 10:08 AM
By speaking.

'Externalised' thoughts are not thoughts - you call that speech.

Thoughts, by their very definition, can only exist inside one's head, therefore there's no need to say they're 'internalised'.

ErylRavenwell
02-19-2007, 10:19 AM
'Externalised' thoughts are not thoughts - you call that speech.

Thoughts, by their very definition, can only exist inside one's head, therefore there's no need to say they're 'internalised'.

It strikes me as peculiar as well for a thought to be characterised as "internalised".