The blog of author Harper Alexander

First Person Thought Process

1 Comment

So last night, my writer friend Pageweaving brought up an interesting writing question.  She asked me: “When you’re writing in first person, do you still distinguish the main character’s personal thoughts in italic followed by an ‘I thought’?  Or do you just let the narrative itself communicate her personal thoughts, since it is her perspective telling everything, so, essentially, it’s ALL her thoughts?”

Oddly enough, I didn’t have an answer.  I actually couldn’t remember if I ever give first-person narrators separate italic thoughts or not.  And I still can’t.  To find out, I’m going to have to go back and re-read my first-person books, because I feel kind of like I’ve done both, but I can’t actually recall an example.  I started to tell my friend that I think it depends on the personality and voice of the character, for me, and that I think I’ve done it some in some books and not in others, but then I just couldn’t be sure.

So that leads me to wonder where everyone else stands with this.  Has anyone else ever actively thought about this?  Is there any kind of rule that dictates whether or not it’s allowed or not allowed or just a big gray area?  I’m interested to know.


One thought on “First Person Thought Process

  1. I’m not sure if I’ve ever done it with separate italicized thoughts. I feel like it doesn’t really matter. That is a really tough question, though.

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