One of the things that makes our writing strong is sharing our character’s thoughts with the reader. This is done in two main ways: by indirect and direct thoughts.
Thoughts are simply a character talking to themselves. We show this inner speech by using italics instead of quotation marks.
Indirect: He thought his friend’s remark was funny.
Direct: Now, that’s funny!
Most narrative writing is in the past tense.
But, characters’ inner thoughts are written in the present tense.
Here is an example:
Indirect: He refused to give up. (This comes from the narrator. Past tense- third person.)
Direct: I refuse to give up. (This thought comes directly from the character. Present tense- first person.)
So, when should you use indirect thoughts and when should you choose to include direct thoughts?
Ask yourself two questions:
1) Does it feel like it’s in third or first person?
2) Does it feel like the character is saying this?
It’s just that simple.
Or, at least I think so…