Want to Know How to Write Realistic Internal Dialogue?



As a writer, we want our characters to come across as credible and believable. Internal thoughts are part of bringing our characters to life. So, what is the correct way to write  what characters are thinking?

Reasons to Use Internal Dialogue:

  1. To make  characters real to our readers.
  2. Show vulnerability – to help connect readers to the character.
  3. For dramatic effect – when you want to emphasize something important. Readers tend to remember emphasized moments.
  4. To show the character’s motivation.

Courtesy of Quick & Dirty Tips

Ways to Show Internal Dialogue

  1. Using the tag, “He thought.”   I wish Stephen would leave well enough alone, she thought.
  2. Italics:  Why can’t Stephen leave well enough alone?  Italics are  my favored method to show internal dialogue.
  3. Intermingling thoughts with narrative.  Claire stared out the window. Why couldn’t Stephen be happy with the status quo? She didn’t have a clue what answer she’d give him this weekend.
  4. Using quotations – for the most part,  is not recommended, even single quotations. Because quotations denote dialogue, it can confuse to the reader.

Do you find one method preferable over another? Why?

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. And as always, you can follow me on Facebook at SheilaMGood, Pinterest, Bloglovin,  Contently, and  Twitter @cofcmom.

Coutresy of zazzle.com

Courtesy of zazzle.com

Want more on Formatting Internal Dialogue? Check out Grammar Girl’s, Quick and dirty Tips.com





8 thoughts on “Want to Know How to Write Realistic Internal Dialogue?

  1. I like using italics. It creates a difference between what was said aloud and thought internally. I sometimes use “s/he thought ” I’m definitely sharing this article with the budding writers in my circles.


  2. I like using italics or the she/he thought method. I don’t ever use quotations because I agree how that can be confusing for a reader.


Tell me your story.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.