One thing I like about the book I’m reading – the book called Flex – is that the character has a very strong train of thought. He thinks about his guilt, his plans for the future, whether something will or won’t work out. His thoughts really encompass the breadth of possibilities, and there’s one scene I really like.
His ‘mancy, this love, was illegal. If anyone at work unlocked the door to Paul’s office, they’d find the evidence for the military to press-gang him into the Unimancy squad. They’d brain-burn him, take his daughter away. Because ‘mancy was evil, it had annihilated Europe, it was the ultimate crime. (Steinmetz 30)
By including a character’s thoughts, we show their humanity and prove the depth of their thoughts. This paragraph does a good job of emphasizing this about Paul – the main character. It showed his worries, it showed what he worried about and what he was scared of happening. It gave proof that this was a cause for concern.
While writing, I think it would help to stop every once in a while and ask your character, what are you thinking? When does their thoughts matter most? Because when you’re in action, you might not have the strongest thoughts, but when you’re standing at the fork of two paths, when you’re in the middle of debate, then it might be worth to hear what you have to say. Why do you make the decision you do?
Show thoughts when it matters most. When it adds depth to the story, when it helps the character to figure out what’s going on, to show the reader why the scene or reaction matters. Show me what I should be thinking.
Steinmetz, Ferrett. Flex. Nottingham, UK: Angry Robot, 2015.