Friday, June 02, 2006

Internal dialogue: Friend or foe?

I recently read a good book that had quite a bit of internal dialogue in there. It was okay at first, but then I started to become annoyed by the whole thing. The heroine told me how she felt about everything. From the hero's physique to her family's troubled past. I like insight. But I felt overwhelmed by this heroine's thoughts.

I don't use internal dialogue very much. I don't know if that's good or bad. Hell, it's probably both.
I tend to write what fits with my story. My heroine's don't sit there and analyze themselves and their emotions. They act. If they DO use internal dialogue...something major has happened. And they're trying to sort out the issues in their heads. Same as I do. Um...mostly.

And then I became aware that it's also a way to add words to the story. But at what cost? I tend to be done at no more than 78,000 words. At most. I will never write a 100,000 word story. For those of you who can, I tip my hat. If I used internal dialogue...the word count would rise. But I'm not willing to wield this device as a cure-all for that.
Sure, I'll tell a little. A reader doesn't like to be left in the dark. But mostly, I'll show. Because living through a character's eyes is a great way to be invested in the story.

How much do you use? How much do you like? What are your parameters for this? And readers, does it annoy or attract you?


Ceri said...

I used to use too much internal dialogue until it was pointed out to me. Now I try to be very aware of how much I use and when I use it and try to cut back. I probably still use too much, but I've gotten better.

Rene said...

I HATE HATE HATE writing internal dialogue and avoid it as much as possible. Mainly because I don't like writing the internal parts of a story. It is boring, I'd rather just get to the sex or the death. But, it is a necessary part of a story but as you can imagine, I don't use much.

Janie said...

Supposedly, a writer shouldn't use internal dialogue that much. However, I am not sure what you are defining as internal dialogue.