Adding introspection in your writing

It’s been a while since I last posted, but I’m not a natural “journal keeper” type so bear with me!

I was thinking about introspection today in fiction writing and thought I’d write a blog post about it. I’ll admit that I sometimes struggle with adding introspection in my writing. Other writers may call it something different, like internal monologue or internal dialogue, but it refers to the inner workings of a character: their thoughts, feelings, and how they react to things in the story. Introspection is one of five basic parts (so I’ve heard…) of fiction writing – the others being dialogue, action, description, and exposition. 

Introspection isn’t required in writing, but it adds depth and flavor to point of view characters by not only showing what they’re saying and doing externally, but internally as well. Something happens, and the character reacts to it. They have thoughts and feelings to be expressed! I have to keep this in mind all the time when I’m writing.

I even made a list to use to help me keep in mind ways my characters can be introspective (when appropriate – too much slows down the pace and makes the writing a little boring! No one wants to read about a character that only thinks all the time and never does anything). What I did was I took the novel I’m currently reading, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and I went through a few chapters and anytime I encountered a sentence that had an obvious introspective tag, I wrote it down.

I’m assuming there’s many more ways of writing a character’s various inner workings but this is just an appetizer list. We’ll use a character called Beth and put her through a couple of basic internal reactions.

 

Beth realized that she had once again locked her keys in her car.

Beth wondered what her boyfriend would say when he saw her on crutches.

To Beth’s surprise, the front door was ajar when she arrived home.

Beth kept expecting the man to try to pass her, but instead he tailgated her all the way home.

Beth wished that she didn’t have to work on Christmas Eve.

Beth suspected that her boyfriend had forgotten Valentine’s Day again, and unfortunately, she was right.

It seemed to Beth that the dog wandering around her front yard was acting a little odd.

Beth hoped that she’d make it to her final exam on time.

Beth knew her boss was lazy, but to find him playing video games in the break room during their busiest hour was almost too much.

Beth thought she heard a creaking noise come from the empty guest bedroom.

Beth remembered that she left the coffee pot on – after she was already an hour down the highway.

 

I’m starting to feel a little bad for poor Beth – she just doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break! Well, those are my examples. I hope they were of some help to someone out there!

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