Hello, readers! Did you miss me? Sorry about missing Wednesday's post, but it was one of those weeks. Sometimes I wonder, will things ever slow down again?
Probably not. Maybe next week will be a little calmer, though. One can always hope, right?
(Are you wondering what's up with all the questions?)
Today's post is about avoiding questions in internal dialogue. If your characters have ever wondered how they could possibly escape from some terrible situation, or how anyone could expect them to carry on after a major setback, then this post is for you.
You see, questions are by nature a conversation tool. Asked and answered. A question, even a rhetorical one, is meant to express something to the listener and usually demands a response. But when your character is inside their head, that conversational tone can backfire. When there's no one else there for the character to address, the character starts to feel like they're addressing the reader, which breaks the suspension of disbelief.
My kids do this thing when they listen to the radio, or occasionally to TV commercials--when they hear a question asked and the narrator assumes their answer, it irritates them. So they come up with something snarky to say back, or they argue with Mr. Narrator. (Life is always interesting in my house, at least.) Because when they hear the one-sided conversation, they want to interject themselves into the dialogue.
Unless you're purposefully creating a dialogue between reader and narrator, try to go easy on the questions. Let the reader sit on the MC's shoulder quietly and observe what's going on, without dragging them into the conversation as well.
Every Wednesday and Saturday we bring you an edit tip of the day. Be sure to check out the archives for our popular summer series of SHOW DON'T TELL workshops!