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Internal dialogue – the inner thoughts and musings of your entities – is a great way to build trust with your reader and have them connect with your characters. At the Jane Friedman blog, author Elizabeth Sims helps us to write great internal dialogue. It is a great post, one I am going to bookmark.
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Internal Dialogue: The Greatest Tool for Gaining Reader Confidence
Not long ago, one of my elderly neighbors lost several thousand dollars to a con artist. A stranger phoned with a convincing sob story that ended in a plea for money. My neighbor actually filled a paper lunch sack with twenty-dollar bills, drove to a nearby grocery store, stashed the bag behind a vegetable bin as directed, and left. Even when a friend explained that it was a trick, my neighbor was serene, believing he had done a service for someone in need.
The best con artists don’t begin by asking for your confidence—they give you theirs first. Here’s my story. I want you, you especially, to hear this. The request for help comes later. There’s the short con—one quick deception and out—and the long con, which takes time and patience to execute. But before either compassion or greed can be exploited, the mark must feel something for the con artist.
When you think about it, what is fiction but one beautiful long con? The reader—the mark—opens a book craving a good story, thirsting to be part of something special. We, as writers, do everything possible to gain the trust of our readers so we can entertain, shock, delight, and amuse them all the way to the end.
And the greatest tool for gaining reader confidence is internal dialogue. Because when a character reveals his thoughts, he’s confiding in the audience. I’m counting on you to understand me—and possibly even help me understand myself. Suddenly readers are in the thick of it; they feel involved and invested. They have some skin in the game.
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