re: Is Your Internal Dialogue Telling You Something?

in Dialogue/Narrative Voice/Point of View/Teen/Middle Grade Fiction by

Dear Editor…

I’m writing a young adult novel in first person that alternates between the 2 main characters’ POV. I’m getting conflicting advice from critiquers about the use of internal dialogue—those not very into YA fiction say I have too much; those accustomed to YA fiction don’t comment on the internal thoughts OR say I need more! Is it a genre thing?

Sincerely,
Beth

Dear Beth…

More intriguing to me than the category split is the fact that all your critiquers commented on the internal dialogue. Something’s off. I.D. is essentially dialogue that reaches the tip of a character’s tongue but gets bitten back (Not in this lifetime, loser); it should spill out as naturally as a verbal comment. Natural and judicious use of I.D. is not so conspicuous. I suspect your characters’ talking voices have more personality than their narrative voices and that’s why you’re writing lots of it—distracting some readers with its overuse while wowing others with its zing. Put that zing in the narrative voice! Try it. Rewrite a scene as if the character is next to you, talking about that day. Not describing it, but talking about it the way he’d talk to himself. Different? I bet.

Happy writing!
The Editor

7 Comments

  1. Great advice! I recently changed the POV on a chapter book, per an agents advice….it really changed the whole story for the better. I was able to add more I.D. which shows more about the character than third person. Hopefully readers will connect with the mc more. 🙂

  2. I heartily agree with The Editor! By moving some of that ID into spoken dialogue you will not only reveal more of your character’s character (Ahem!) but also you may find that your perception of said character will change and that will affect your reader’s perception as well. Sounds like a good thing to me because you’d be giving readers more insight into what makes your character tick. (I may be going round about on this – hope you know what I’m trying to say! :-D)

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