by Laura Michelle Thomas
I think this might be one of the most confusing formatting issues for new writers. How do you show what a character is thinking when you are writing in the third person point of view? Why is it so confusing?
It’s confusing because there is some flexibility in how you can do it, and different authors and editors have their preferences. But don’t worry, there are only a few options to choose from. It’s easier than you think.
YOUR TWO MAIN OPTIONS FOR SHOWING A CHARACTER’S THOUGHTS ARE…
#1 Indirectly Through Narration
Carol thought the boy’s wispy moustache looked ridiculous and wanted to tell him.
#2 Directly As You Would With Dialogue with 2 formatting options
Italics: That boy’s wispy moustache looks ridiculous. I want to tell him.
Quotation Marks: “That boy’s wispy moustache looks ridiculous. I want to tell him,” thought Carol.
Whichever option you chose for direct thought, be consistent. Don’t switch back and forth.