[Writing] How would you write someone's thoughts?

HexMozart88

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I tend to use () for mumbling. So I use italics for thinking. But something you might want to consider, which I sometimes also do is remove the talksprite/portrait/bust/whatever you want to call it for thoughts.
 

rpgLord69

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If you use parentheses for thoughts, then what do you use for whispers?
 

coucassi

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Stephen King did this all the time, and while I noticed it, it never struck me as odd or broke emersion. Also, since italics are generally used to emphasize a word or phrase, he would invert it, so that a sentence or paragraph would be all italics, and the emphasized word would be regular, which would make it stand out.
Not sure about other countries, but in germany this seems to be the genereal rule for all the books I read: Thoughts & emphasized words both in italic. If there are emphaized words in thoughts, they are just written normal, so that they still stand out.

If you use parentheses for thoughts, then what do you use for whispers?
Though not using parenthesis for thoughts (it just doesn't look good for me, if a sentence begins with a parenthesis) I reduce the text size for whispers, just as I increase it for shouting.
 
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rpgLord69

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Though not using parenthesis for thoughts (it just doesn't look good for me, if a sentence begins with a parenthesis) I reduce the text size for whispers, just as I increase it for shouting.

Good idea! I didn't think about that, even though it's pretty obvious. I'll have to try and see how it looks and feels.
 

Solar_Flare

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Stephen King did this all the time, and while I noticed it, it never struck me as odd or broke emersion. Also, since italics are generally used to emphasize a word or phrase, he would invert it, so that a sentence or paragraph would be all italics, and the emphasized word would be regular, which would make it stand out.
I've seen this a lot, and I've always hated it. I'd prefer to use bold for nested emphasis, but I'd also prefer to avoid italicizing entire passages.
Just for future reference, the correct term is parentheses. Brackets are [ ]. I agree with you, I think that looks best.
That's not entirely correct - it's valid to refer to parentheses as brackets; sometimes they're even called round brackets. [ ] are specifically square brackets, and curly braces { } also count as a type of bracket. And of course there's angle brackets too.

It does depends on region though; in North America, if you said "brackets" unqualified, most people would assume square brackets, but apparently in Britain they'd assume parentheses? At least according to Wiktionary, not sure how reliable that is.
 

ATT_Turan

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That's not entirely correct - it's valid to refer to parentheses as brackets; sometimes they're even called round brackets. [ ] are specifically square brackets, and curly braces { } also count as a type of bracket. And of course there's angle brackets too.

It does depends on region though; in North America, if you said "brackets" unqualified, most people would assume square brackets, but apparently in Britain they'd assume parentheses? At least according to Wiktionary, not sure how reliable that is.
Hm. I dunno, that's possible. I'm going off of my English education (which I received in North America) and the dictionary. Looking at the Oxford dictionary (which is, of course, British in origin) it does include "bracket" as an informal term but notes the formally correct term is still parenthesis.

But, then, when I look up "bracket" it is only talking about parentheses, not square brackets at all! This is completely different from dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster.

So I apologize, @SigmaSuccour, for the correction. I guess my American terminology is not universal (although I find it much less ambiguous!).
 

Solar_Flare

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To be fair, I nearly always use the term "parentheses" too for the round ones. I'm just noting that it's not strictly incorrect to call them brackets, because they're one of several types of brackets.
 

Arctica

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( thoughts here )
or thoughts in italics

..The latter was what I would do back when I used to write short stories.
 

Tai_MT

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Personally, for video games, I don't include "internal monologue" for my characters. If the player is playing as the character, then it's my job as the writer to make the PLAYER think the internal monologue... not to tell them what their character SHOULD BE THINKING. If the player is playing as a group of people, then it can be jarring to give the player information that the characters don't have as well as inserting that anywhere within the narrative.

In a sense, including "internal monologue" in a video game tends to serve the same purpose as "telling, rather than showing".

A "correct" usage of giving the reader the "internal monologue" is typically for character building. Or, even, to address an actual audience. For example, a character thinks a very specific thought at a very specific time and it is relevant for that character's development. It can be used to show the point they began to become unhinged... or fall in love... or change their mind on a subject... or do something that would otherwise "feel out of character".

I know I like to cite this writer a lot, but it's where I've taken to learning a lot of how a writer does their job effectively: Stephen King. Now, his stories are "rudimentary" at best. The subjects and topics and such are decently bland. What he does do amazingly, however, is write characters and use the narrative devices effectively for writing these characters.

There's a scene in "Needful Things" where he writes the thoughts of one of the female characters. It isn't "important" to the story at all. An errant thought he commits to paper for no other reason than it lends insight to the reader on her relationship to our main protagonist. King describes her accidently dropping a dish as they do dishes together and our main character deftly and swiftly catches it by reflex and what he describes as "cat like" movements. What follows is the female character's thought about how amazing it was and how animal-like it was... and how it got her motor running.

It's a scene that highlights the degree of their relationship. He's used to being "on guard" around her because of her physical condition, and she loves him so much that small little things that would be utterly meaningless in most relationships are things that "turn her on".

What is interesting to note about much of King's work is that you don't really get the "internal monologue" all that much from any of his characters. It has to be relevant to the building of that character or to explain an action which would otherwise be unexplainable, before he even includes it.

To that end, if you really want to include "thoughts" in your game, I'd simply use brackets. The problem you're going to have is that more often than not, these thoughts you're writing are going to be directed at the player (the audience) rather than feel "natural". In the example provided, the thought was very jarring. Few people think in those ways presented. That is, the "errant thought" is usually just an emotional thought, rather than an actual sentence most of the time. It's a feeling.

A person doesn't think, "OMG, I'm so turned on by watching my boyfriend catch that dish I accidently dropped!" It is, "She marveled at the speed and deftness his body instinctively moved and fingers curled around the plate. It was somehow almost cat-like and it made her heart flutter". This is typically how someone's thoughts work. We don't often put dialogue to the things that run in our head unless we're trying to rationalize something or explore the feeling, or think a concept through.

It's difficult to write thoughts that don't "feel" janky when they're all put to words. Or included constantly.

Just my two cents.
 

arsMori

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My current project has the narration done by the main character, so all the thoughts in the dialogue are from his perspective. When he's thinking, I just remove the name box or face image. (I have a text sound effect plugin, so I change the text sound during thinking to be different from his "voice", but it's not really a writing thing so I won't elaborate.) Making the text smaller is reserved for whispering.

If it were the type of game where you could "see" or "read" the perspectives or thoughts of other characters, I prefer doing it a visual way. I would do things like darken the busts of other characters to bring focus on the character doing the thinking or use one of those gab window plugins to simulate a thought bubble.
 

Solar_Flare

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I would do things like darken the busts of other characters to bring focus on the character doing the thinking
I think this is actually a good idea even for regular dialogue if you have multiple busts onscreen. It really helps to emphasize who's currently speaking.

For thoughts you could additionally dim the background, maybe?
 

Zanderfel

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One way to go about figuring out how a character thinks of something is to treat it as if you are the character. In Dungeons & Dragons for instance, all players create a backstory which molds who their character is & what they are.
Course everyone writes differently, the methods of telling it depends on how - 1st person or 3rd person.

3rd person is told from another's point of view, like the narrator, a historian, an archivist, a friend of the character, an enemy of the character, etc. But its typically told as past tense.
1st person however is told directly from the perspective of the character.

3rd person - "He/She did this"
1st person - "I did this"

If you're telling from 3rd person, while it can be done, most stories written in the 3rd person can really only guess at what the character was thinking. But from 1st person, with the storyteller being the character, you don't have to guess cause well you are the character.

-------------------
"Hey uh... I'm thirsty, I'll be right back"
[Oh come on! Why can't I say what I really wanna say? GET IT TOGETHER!]
-------------------

Also, with RPG Maker, you could make it more obvious with the Text Windows, like have anything spoken be in a window that is clearly visible. But when the character is thinking about something, have the window be transparent.
This method however mostly works if the story is mostly being told from the Main Character's viewpoint, and shouldn't apply this "thinking" method to other characters, even if they are allies (otherwise could confuse people). It would really only work with multiple characters if the main was telepathic like Charles Xavier.
That's basically the only downside with adding thoughts of a character to a game or story.
 

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