Internal dialogue is one of the best ways to develop the reader’s understanding of the character in a novel.
By making the reader party to the innermost thoughts of the MC a deeper bond can be established.
The internal dialogue works well in first person or third person narration.
There are three conventions for punctuation internal thought processes:
Substituting thought for said and using quotation marks:
“Sneaking out tonight didn’t happen,” Lucas thought, “but, there’s always tomorrow.”
Third person exposition rather than musing:
Lucas thought although he hadn’t managed to sneak out that night he might be more successful the next.
Sneaking out tonight didn’t happen, Lucas thought, but, there’s always tomorrow.
Italics can be used to continue the process of internal dialogue when the emotions felt by the MC are escalating:
They are afraid of me. His certainty grew as the angry faces before him drained to bloodless white. Very afraid.
This version is the most immediate.
“They are afraid of me.” Lucas’ certainty grew as the angry faces before him drained to bloodless white. “Very afraid.”
Lucas realised, as the angry faces drained to bloodless white, that they were all afraid of him.
A word of caution –
Be afraid. Elaine thought, confidentially. Be very afraid (of adding phrases punctuated like this into your manuscript, mostly-because it is a bit clichéd ;)
The key to expressing a character’s internal dialogue is to punctuate them consistently. Select the method that feels right for you… and stick to it.
How is your internal dialogue going today?
idealistic, idiotic, ignorant, immodest, immoral, immune, impartial, impassioned, impassive, impatient, imperious, impertinent, imperturbable, impish, implacable, impolite, impudent, impulsive, inattentive, incensed, inconsiderate, inconsolable, incorrigible, incredulous, indecisive, indifferent, indignant, indiscreet, indolent, industrious, infantile, infatuated, inflexible, inhumane, innocent, inquisitive, insatiable, insecure, insensitive, insincere, inspiring, insulted, interested, interfering, intimate, intimidated, intolerant, intrepid, intrigued, introspective, intuitive, invulnerable, irate, irrational, irreligious, irrepressible, irreverent, irritable