Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Navel Gazing: It's All About Me and My Lint

Navel Gazing: The excessive use of internal monologue. 

You may have noticed a theme to the topics of the past weeks and my stance on them -- too much is a turn-off. The same holds true for POV characters who disengage from their stories to focus on the world festering in their belly-button.

But private thoughts are so fascinating!

Everything in writing is a grand game of balance. Striking the balance is subjective, naturally. As the author, I ought to be aware when a monologue has crossed the threshold from showing internal conflict into a description of carbon-dating lint.


Circling the writer-verse is the editorial advice to color code your nearly perfect WiP based on key components such as narrative, dialogue, monologue, backstory, action, reveal, climax, and resolution. Back the document view out to 20% and inspect the Jackson Pollock.

How's the color distribution? Did the infernal internal monologue interrupt an action sequence? Did it overtake a scene? A chapter? Is it peppered throughout or oozing clumps? Random tiny splotch?

Your literary painting will reveal your penchants, propensities, and verily your style. Whether or anything needs to be changed largely depends on your genre. Certain genres are more accepting of -- even dependent on -- internal monologues. Others demand the characters shut their pie-holes and do something.

What's Too Much?

When your character is telling instead of showing -- that's the glib answer.

I tend to think of the "right" balance being akin to chatting it up at a cocktail party. The more I talk about me, me, me, the more people I repel. When I encourage others to speak, I attract more and more people to me.

Much like an author wants their story to attract readers.

Do you, dear readers, have ways of determining when your characters are being too self-indulgent? Please, share your methods!

photo originally found here: http://www.factfixx.com/2011/09/21/weird-words-omphaloskepsis-navel-gazing/


  1. The thought of color coding my manuscript has never occured to me before...

    *picturing it in my head*

    I think Rainbow Bright would be jealous.

    1. LOL. 'Cept she still has Starlite...and can ride wearing moonboots.