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Ron’s Tip of the Day Character’s Thoughts

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Today I am looking at Character’s Thoughts.

In today’s blog I am discussing how to make use of your character’s thoughts in your book. There is more than one way to do this, but I prefer using italics to indicate thoughts. Let’s take a look.

Here is a sample.

Henry thought to himself that to cross the river would be too difficult.

While some would accept that method, it is really the narrator telling you what Henry thought. But when I use thoughts, I want the readers to feel like they are actually listening into Henry’s thoughts. Something like this:

Henry stared at the river. This is going to be more difficult than I imagined!

By doing it this way I conveyed several bits of information. For example, you could gather that Henry had been thinking about this crossing for a while, plus he already had determined it would be a difficult crossing. But seeing it up close made him realize he’d underestimated the difficulty. All of these are possible depending on context.

When you access a person’s thoughts and listen to that person, you gain more information than a narrator could provide in the same amount of text. It only took one sentence for you to hear the character. But it took three sentences for me to describe what you might have discerned.

You can use this technique for one or for more characters. However, be very careful about using multiple characters at the same time. It’s okay to use different characters over time, but it can be problematic in the same scene.

Tip of the Day : Use italics to indicate thoughts

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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