Writing Basics

Writing interior monologue: Up close and personal

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that writing interior monologue can be easiest when writing in first person and third person limited. Today, let’s delve a bit deeper into that perspective.

As I said before, it is quite simple to write interior monologue in first person point of view, as long as you remember that the narration is already something of an internal monologue in itself. Consider yourself in the situation you are writing. If you are wondering about something, how often does the monologue occur in your head as, “I wonder what he thinks he’s doing.” Or, is it more like, “What does he think he’s doing?” without adding an unnecessary explainer?

When writing in third person limited, or close personal third perspective, it is almost as if you are writing in first person. The only difference is you are switching out the pronoun, “I” for “she,” “he,” or “their” even as the protagonist/narrator is telling his or her own story.

The closer you write to the protagonist’s perspective, the easier it is to write interior monologue. In close personal limited, you are always writing from a protagonist/narrator’s POV, but instead of using “I” as you do in first person, you are describing the story from the POV of a nearby spectator who is practically inside the protagonist’s head. The narrator shares the protagonist’s perspective, almost as if the protagonist’s body has more than one personality living in it: one is “I” and the other is watching and describing the “I” character while seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking the “I” character’s thoughts (almost channeling!)

Just as you would when writing in first person POV, when writing in third person limited/close personal third, you can often just eliminate thought tags like, “she thought,” etc. EX: “She thought he was acting like a total idiot.” Vs. “He was acting like a total idiot.”

As always, when editing, do a search for trigger words like wondered, felt, thought, etc. and see if you can simply cut them.

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