For the occasional use of inner voice, Italics are usually recommended.
However I have a protagonist who is speaking with himself all the time, and Italics use quickly becomes tiring and distracting.
I saw that in that case, like in Donaldson’s chronicles of Thomas Covenant, no italics are used, there is only a space, and no quote marks, to indicate the inner thoughts.
Yet, my protagonist’s inner voice also comments during regular dialogue, and if the inner voice is not tagged it could become very confusing, and if it is it would be different from the rest of the scenes where an untagged inner voice is used.
Yet, another complication is that an external supernatural character also speaks to him in his head and that needs tagging too. Using CAPS or bold is not a practical solution and italics may already be used for the dialogues.
Do you have any recommendations for this dilema?
"This question may already have an answer here: Direct thoughts 4 answers"
Thanks for the link, but not they do not really offer a solution the gist is to use italics or some sort of tag followed by some «he said” or “I thought to myself”. That is dumb, cumbersome, and clunky, of course it is “he thought” since it is inner dialogue. as i reader i hate that, specially if it is often used, as in my case it would be.
With no specific Tag it would get confusing during dialogue.
C1 said ”It is a beautiful day isn’t it?” while vaguely indicating the sky. Pompous ass! “Yes, it is a fine day for early spring” C2 amicably replied while debating the merits of stuffing him with his own umbrella. He smiled at him, pretending to watch the sky. I hope you drown in a sudden outpour, you dimwit. they stood on the entrance of…
The only viable recommendation is the first-person POV, but that is not good for sales as most novels are in the 3d person. The goal is to write for a broad audience and not for some literati minority. I don’t think that that original question was answered either, it may be that there are no solutions.
the Q Punctuating Thoughts
is in favor of marking inner voice the same as dialogue, but that would become impossibly confusing in a dialogue with a voice over inner dialogue.
@micapam answered "The habit of italicising characters' thoughts should be left where it belongs, in the pre-New Wave history of science fiction, and cheap pulp fiction thrillers. Unless you are writing 'young adult' or juvenile fiction, I would strongly advise you to continue to avoid italics, punctuation or any other clunky markers to separate chracters' thoughts from the enclosing narrative.”
@ Lauren Ipsum If the character's thoughts are really dialogue, or a monologue, you do have to set it off. I personally prefer italics […]If you're worried about overdoing italics because you're using them for telepathy and for thoughts, for example, then rework your passages with thoughts so they're more narration and less direct monologues. In any case, using italics for emphasis is entirely fine, no matter what else you use italics for.
@ what Do not use italics when a character is thinking
I am very sorry if I am wasting time, splitting hairs, but I am not really satisfied with the answers, my main problem is one of volume. Low frequency inner thoughts can be set in many different ways without detracting from the reading. This particular story is full of inner toughts, including during dialogue.
I find that no marking is very confusing during dialogue, obvious marks like italics or quotes used too frequently detract from the narrative dream, and reworking the passages to make them narration misses the whole point of the inner dialogue and critical commentary on the world.
For telepathy, since it is less frequent, yes I can use different options, but the problem is for the main character. I am aware that there may not be any ideal solutions, and that it is based on author’s preference, but is there any solution to the dilemma?
Also I hate “he thought”, or worse “i thought to myself” tags, are they really necessary? in the 1th person they are redundant, and in the 3d they seem unnecessary since it is a direct voice in the present set in a 3d voice past. So my question is also dependent on avoiding using “he silently thought” type of tags.
I see that in How do you write a character's internal monologue?
@what “Overall, marking up thoughts with italics feels like an amateurish device to me (…) the distinction between thought and non-thought is unmistakeable without italics, just by the grammar of the sentences and the explicit statement of "I think/tought". Without italics (as markup for thoughts – or shouting) the text appears more elegant and of higher literary quality.
AND As you can see, Collins uses italics for some few thoughts, but not for others. In fact the whole novel, told in the first person, consists of the interior monologue of the protagonist, Katniss. The italic parts within this interior monologue appear to be more outward directed (what Katniss imagines she might have said), while the non-italic parts are everything else that goes on in Katniss' brain: what she thinks to herself.
Here is a third quote from Collins, where this distinction becomes more apparent: again the unspoken words are directed from a speaker to a listener, but here it is not Katniss who "speaks" them in her mind, instead she imagines hearing them:
Is this the only potential solution?