Monday, March 03, 2014

A Note on Internal Monologues

Art by Kaori Yuki

A Note on
Internal Monologues

“I was just wondering what you think about interior monologues, long passages of reflection?” -- Curious Kitty

Whether you are considering adding a lengthy monologue to a story, or intend the monologue to be the story itself; where the focus of the entire story is on one character’s thoughts and feelings with very little action, from my observations and experimentation, the readers either love them or hate them. There's no in-between.

However, it is notable that the internal monologue stories that are sought out most frequently usually focus on a profound emotion of some kind: grief, loneliness, heartache, loss... Usually by those seeking to deal with such an emotion as a kind of therapy, or by those that have never felt such emotions. (Strong emotional stories are extremely popular in the Young Adult genre.)

In both cases, not only does the reader seek to submerge themselves in these profound emotions, they are also looking for a solution, a way back out from under these feelings.

In short...
Don’t write about Emotional Trauma 
without a Solution already in mind. 

Don't leave your readers hanging. You don’t want the hate mail that will come. Really.

I'm an escapist by nature, so I fall into the other category -- those that can only handle internal monologues in extremely tiny doses. I've actually had to deal with these sorts of emotions; death, grief, heartache, loss... on a far too personal basis, so dwelling on them (reading long emotional passages,) isn't something I'm comfortable with. I prefer my emotional deep thoughts mixed in with the character doing something; an action scene flavored by internal narration, rather than a monologue.

In Conclusion…
When deciding whether or not your monologue is appropriate for what you are writing, consider your target reading audience.

If you’re writing a story steeped in emotional upswings such as a romance, a monologue or two will probably fit right in.

However, if you’re writing something with lots of action such as an adventure, you just might want to consider sprinkling bits of light action among your passages of deep thought to keep it from dragging down the pace you’ve already set for your story.

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