Sep 19, 2017

Characters & Floating Thoughts

by Terri Wagner

I must confess up front...I am terrible about writing like this. I seem to like writing about what's in my character's head. I like "I" POV. However, I read this article that made me rethink my writing preference. Floating Thoughts makes Jonna Penn's five most common writing mistakes. She is both a writer and an editor.

As I have said numerous times before, I love sci-fi/fantasy. And my favorite are epic stories that span a wide arc. In my most favorite series, the characters often communicated through "thoughts" to each other in times of stress or battle. Better than a cell phone! Their observations to themselves gave me insight to their motivations, especially when they seem to make a decision that appears out of character. So it is a great writing device that makes the characters more real.

Ms. Penn warned in her guest post that drawing out the "thinking" for a surprise ending is not a great way to hook a reader. I am sure we have all read a story based on the character's perspective only to discover later they are in a hospital bed. She suggests finding a better way to jump into action. I realize many stories are based on the fact that it has the surprise ending. They use this technique quite often in teaching manuals because the perspective might be someone with autism, ADHD, is blind, etc. And it helps teachers and fellow students to get inside the head of a person with challenges. I prefer challenges to disabilities because it really is a better description. Think Little People Big World.

Although Ms. Penn's article is short and sweet the way a blog post should be, she has opened my eyes to a bad writing habit of my own. Never ever underestimate the value of action over a lengthy monologue leading to a surprise.

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