I really love to talk about character’s thoughts (or reflections) within writing, mainly because I think this is a hard thing to achieve realistically. With the way our minds work, we can only thing of one thing at a time, but our brain works so fast, that we may have already thought 50 things within the span of a few seconds. It’s what makes writing stream of consciousness so difficult.
I actually was watching a let’s play for a video game – Until Dawn – and I found myself laughing at it in places. It’s just…even though it is one of the most beautiful life-like renditions, I find myself at odds with the characters’ decisions, where no one in their right mind would do such a thing. For instance, there were two characters hiking through the woods together, enter a mine shift, and almost get killed, and then the girl makes a sexy comment to her boyfriend. I mean, seriously. You get killed and the first thing you think of is sex? Or, what made you go in a condemned mine anyways? What’s a condemned mine doing by a hotel/inn?
There were a lot of points where I had a hard time believing the character’s reactions, which doesn’t bode well for my overall favor for the game.
While this book, The Library at Mount Char, I thought it did a pretty good job. The characters sounded older, like themselves and their personalities, and with such a range. There were average Joe’s, people raised by “aliens,” people raised in the army, even a lion…the range of characters made the feat itself difficult, but all of them turned out to be realistic. I’ll include one short example that follows not long after the introduction.
…”Just a mess at the barn. One of the horses.” There was no barn, no horse. But she knew from the smell of the man that he would be sympathetic to animals, and that he would understand their business could be bloody. “Rough delivery, for me and for her.” She smiled ruefully and held her hands to frame her torso, the green silk now black and stiff with Detective Miner’s blood. “I ruined my dress.” (Hawkins 4)
To me, what made this thought realistic is the flow. Notice she mentioned horses and then she thought of horses, how she lied about them because it seemed the most believable lie to give the guy.
I think all thoughts need to flow or have good transitions. It helps the realism.
Two, the thoughts were framed according to the character. Having just committed a murder, she is going to want to blend in – that’s what she was taught to do, as we say later in the book. Hence, the believable lies.
These two things will definitely help when writing thought processes. And, this entire book is full of them! I would definitely recommend it.
Hawkins, Scott. The Library at Mount Char. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, 2015. Print.