And how do you actually think? Have you ever thought about it? I do, sometimes, especially when I'm writing up a character who can't talk, or one, like me, who doesn't talk much, someone too shy to do much more than watch, watch and think.
Do you think to yourself in words? I do, sometimes. Every once in a while, when something happened to me that really pissed me off, I'll go on about whatever I'm doing, but in my head I'm saying all the things I'd really like to say to the person face to face. I'll never say it, not really, but it's nice to get it all said, even if it's only in my head and never out loud.
But how about for other things? Let's say you're planning your day. My days at work are generally laid out and are much the same from day to day, but in the interest of efficiency, I give some thought to planning some of the smaller details. You know, something of this sort is done more in images.
So how do you write these kinds of things in your stories? The thinking in words part is easy enough; it's just dialog without the quotation marks and italicized - something I didn't know until recently, so it's something I need to change in all my manuscripts. I also need to add such thoughts. Many are already there but in third person. People don't think in third person much, unless they're thinking about someone else.
That leaves writing in thought images. But think about it for a moment. We all write in images all the time. Turning it from a seen image to a thought image isn't all that different. In the interest of consistency, changing it to first person and italics would clue your reader into the fact that it's an internal thought.
Another thing about thoughts, or more accurately, the word 'thought'. Using the words 'he thought' after you've done all the previous mention work can be a bit redundant. Saying 'he thought about doing this or that' is good, but if you have a sentence like, If I could only think of something interesting to write about, I thought. The words 'I thought' are a bit of overkill. Not that it's wrong; I'm reading The Hunger Games, and I see this frequently. I'm sorry, I know the book is very popular, but every time I see this, it just jerks me out of the moment. You never want to jerk your reader around. Don't get me wrong; I love the story, but I've seen several cases of incomplete sentences too. Who knows, maybe the editor got too carried away with the story and overlooked some of the errors. I can certainly see it happening. We're only human, and it is a captivating story. That's one reason it's always wise to have someone else edit your work. Even beta readers have their value for this reason. They don't expect what is coming and so see what is written.
So tell me, how do you handle thoughts?