March 15, 2017

What in the World are People Thinking?

As you walk down the hall at work or through the aisles in the grocery store, do you imagine thoughts in other people’s heads? Are they thinking about how much their feet hurt or wondering what their spouse will get them for Christmas or thinking about a friend who might be in the hospital? All of us have very busy minds. We are thinking all the time. But, I’d venture to say that you’re too busy thinking about you to wonder what others are thinking. UNLESS you’re a writer.

73af806b7ef840091923ee678ea4c0efIn fact, if you see a writer in the grocery store or at work, they are probably wondering what you are thinking. One of our jobs is to get in the minds of our characters. We think our character’s thoughts. Sometimes they are clear thoughts and other times they are snippets of thought or fragments.

Here are some tips for getting into your character’s head:

  1. Don’t write every thought. Otherwise you’ll drive your readers nuts.
  2. Imagine that character and what might be going on with them. Imagine their unique personality. For example if your character us obsessive compulsive, they might get off on something small–some little noticed tidbit they can’t let go. This might be just the thing that solves a case.
  3. Make sure the thoughts are relevant to the story. Random thoughts are what people have all the time, but as writers we must ferret out the ones that matter to the story we’re telling.
  4. Don’t spend too much time in the character’s mind. Too much internal dialogue can drive readers to put your book down and never pick it up again.

So, what are you thinking about? Can you give us a few of your usual thoughts? We might use them the next time we enter the mind of our characters. Why not? Share your thoughts with us.