I’m craving candy. Ugh! Where are my gummy Vitamin Ds? I love the peach and blackberry flavors. It’s candy but not. And I got sideways permission from my doctor to eat quite a few. He said take 14,000 milligrams per week, and that he takes them all at once so he doesn’t forget. I could eat a lot of gummy candy at once, apparently. I have permission.
So, when I went to the ANWA Conference in February, it was FABULOUS for a ton of reasons. One, there were a lot of laughs. Two, there were great classes. The amazing Janette Rallison gave a super fun class on “voice.” That’s one thing I think a lot of us writers struggle with–how to make the “voice” of the story stand out, how to make it authentic, how to keep it consistent. Janette does this SO well. If there were an Academy Awards of Writing, she’d get one for “Best Voice in a Teen Comedy” every year.
Janette says there were four parts of writing: dialogue, action, description, and internal thought. All four parts need to be there, and pretty much in equal balance for the story to flow. Internal thought is a vital to help the reader understand the character, the character’s motivations, backstory. Internal dialogue can also raise the stakes because it can reveal the character’s fears and misgivings, and their greatest needs.
Not only that, internal dialogue IS “voice.” If someone reads your manuscript and says, “I’m just not getting the voice,” chances are, you need to go back and improve or increase that internal dialogue.
Oh, wait. What IS it?
Internal dialogue is the moment by moment emotional reactions or feelings of the character that are described in the middle of the action and the other dialogue. We have to be careful to keep it all in one point of view per scene or it gets jumbled, of course. Otherwise it becomes head hopping.
When it’s done right it puts the character right in the moment, brings up the tension in every scene, and sucks the reader into vicariously experiencing with the character–which is what we want as readers, to be taken on a ride.
In my upcoming novel BIG IN JAPAN I worked really hard to get the internal dialogue right for the main character as he experienced Japan for the first time. I tried to detail Buck’s reactions to all the new experiences–from the Hello, Kitty! balloons and vending machines everywhere, to the food, to the way he feels when he gets noticed in a good way for being the biggest guy on the street. As the writer, I’m a little close to it to tell totally whether it works, but I really hope it brings the reader into the story and helps make Buck a sympathetic character.