V.R.Stone's picture
V.R.Stone from London is reading Savages by Don Winslow April 3, 2014 - 1:40am

Which one's right?

Is he going to kill me, John wonders?

Is he going to kill me, John wonders.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore April 3, 2014 - 4:33am

Neither. It's:

Is he going to kill me? John wonders.

or

"Is he going to kill me?" John wonders.

V.R.Stone's picture
V.R.Stone from London is reading Savages by Don Winslow April 3, 2014 - 6:18am

I don't use italics when there's the thought attribution. I like Don Winslow's style, where he writes something like this

Yeah, it's news and it's not news, Frank thinks.

But scanning through a Kindle book, I can't see a 'wonders' example.

My story is told from multiple POVs (and my voice tends to remain the same whichever character's POV I'm writing from) so I don't do what I really want to do, which is just tell the story from such an intimate 3rd person POV that I can write

Is he going to kill me? 

No italics, no 'wonder.'

I sometimes use italics when I don't feel the need for the attribution, like when it's linked to action.

John watches the man walk towards him. Is he going to kill me?

 

KarenRunge's picture
KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness April 3, 2014 - 6:42am

Hello again, Mr Stone! Long time no comms. I spotted this and thought I had to had to suggest that you read a page or two of 'Daddy Love' by Carol Joyce Oates. We all know she's a mastermind, but the way she writes character dialogue/inner dialogue in that book is freaking brilliant. E.g.:

Through her broken jaws she tried to speak. Tried to ask Have they found Robbie yet?

Whit told her no not yet. Not yet was Whit's way of consolation.

At her bedside Whit radiated calm. Elsewhere Whit was crazed.

Whit cradled her in his arms. As much as he could lean over the bed, without hurting her. (But could she feel pain? It was a cotton-batting sort of pain, a roaring in her ears that might have been screams but were muffled.) He loved her very much, he said. Their son would be found and returned to them, he was certain.

You see what she did there? It's dialogue to a point, and you never doubt that you're being told exactly what was said, but at the same time their inner thoughts and impressions (separate and collective) get merged in with it. The whole book is like this, and it creates a kind of intimate, melancholic dream-haze. Occasionally she does use quotation marks, but only to add emphasis to an extra gut-punching piece of dialogue.

Whether that's what you're going for or not, it's definitely a way to tweak--and easily the most intimate 3rd-person POV I personally have ever read.

Check it out!

 

V.R.Stone's picture
V.R.Stone from London is reading Savages by Don Winslow April 3, 2014 - 6:58am

I carry some baggage - my first chapter that went up in the workshop got a lot of (valid) criticism for questions without attributions. And my early stuff had serious POV issues. So I'm a little gun shy when it comes to non-attributed, non-italicized thoughts. That's the type of thing that I do aspire to though - seamless transitions into internal monolgue.

And don't worry - the next draft of my novel will hit your inbox sometime in May or June...

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore April 3, 2014 - 7:17am

It's true (preferable, even) you don't need the "wonder" attribution when using italics. If you're really struggling with this, I suggest rewording it more distantly.

He wondered if the assassin was going to kill him.

Or better yet, stop wondering and start acting.

Would the assassin kill him? John fled the scene, not wanting to find out.

V.R.Stone's picture
V.R.Stone from London is reading Savages by Don Winslow April 3, 2014 - 7:17am

Ok, I found the search functionality on my Kindle app. Winslow writes

And talk about what? Frank Wonders.

Thread closed...

V.R.Stone's picture
V.R.Stone from London is reading Savages by Don Winslow April 3, 2014 - 7:27am

Ok, thread open again due to simultaneous posting...

Gordon - there are definitely times for those sentences. But when I want to use the more intimate transcript of a thought, I'm going to go with

Is he going to kill me? John wondered.

But you were right - both of my original examples were wrong!