Operation: Cut the Internal Monologue

Not too long ago, a friend of mine commented on the differences between men and women (these are generalizations, not rules). Many women–I think all the women I’ve ever known–are constantly thinking of something. Personally, I have a constant internal monologue going on (on a side note, its usually in third person: “She wondered what to have for lunch . . .”). My friend said she used to ask her husband what he was thinking, and he would answer, “Nothing.” She got frustrated, thinking he was just refusing to tell her. After awhile, though, she realized he really was thinking nothing.

The ending of my novel is messy. Very messy. In talking with a co-worker the other night, he reminded me that guys, in general, don’t internally monologue. The next day, I went back to my ending to work on some new scenes, and they came out much less messy. I concentrated on setting and action to indicate feelings and thoughts rather than on internal monologue. This makes the writing more showy (vs. telly), more interesting, and more true to the character. I also have to remember that my readers are smart–I don’t have to spell every emotion out for them.

As I revise my messy ending, I’m going to work on description of setting, action, and physical feelings to indicate my character’s emotions and thoughts. After that, I need to go back through Parts 2-4 focused on the same thing. This could be disheartening, but I find it encouraging. I had been trying to figure out why Part 1 was so much better than the rest, and I think this is why.

Operation: Cut the Internal Monologue commence!

1 Comments on “Operation: Cut the Internal Monologue”

  1. I know this is an old post, but I decided to comment anyway 😉 I'm not sure that internal dialogue is *always* a male or female thing. I am, certainly, always running a commentary on my mind (though it often has little to do with what's actually going on around me.) However, I've found that an extroverted friend of mine processes things very differently. I believe she still thinks a lot, but she doesn't live in her head the way I do. On the other hand, Dave is continually running things over and over in his head. He stores endless facts as well as analyzations of most social interactions. I think it may depend more on where your focus is – inside or outside of yourself.All that is to say, perhaps a male character *could* have a lot of internal thoughts, depending on his personality and focus.Then again, I've only made the briefest of dalliances into writing and psychology, so this comes entirely out of personal observation, rather than organized study.

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