It’s interesting to think of the components of a scene: dialogue, action, imagery, stream of consciousness… These are all necessary components. You need to see where the characters are at, what they’re doing, what they’re saying, what they’re thinking…Which is what I would like to focus on today!
Not my thinking because I’ve been told I think in weird tangents even though I feel like my mind is made up a series of 3D venn diagrams – bubbles that merge, un-merge and move thoughts around in circles, that constantly grow and shrink with worry/excitement. But, for the sake of our characters, for the sake of their simplicity, we’ll imagine they think in linear patterns.
What he’d done was wrong. He knew that. But her tolerating his presence felt like a benediction, a sign he deserved some place among the wealthy and beautiful, and oh God, he’d lied and was going to Hell. (Steinmetz 16)
This would be considered a stream of consciousness – a continuous flow of thoughts/reactions to an event. After the character slept with a woman, convincing her to bed through the use of magic, he felt guilty, and this paragraph reflects on that guilt, that satisfaction, then guilt again.
These kinds of thoughts should be in all scenes, maybe not always as long, maybe longer. Never in humongous chunks that take up most of the page. But, they do a good job of giving the reader the purpose, direction, plot, and help them identify more with the protagonist.
Steinmetz, Ferrett. Flex. Nottingham, UK: Angry Robot, 2015.