Not too long ago, a friend of mine commented on the differences between men and women (these are generalizations, not rules). Many women--I think all the women I’ve ever known--are constantly thinking of something. Personally, I have a constant internal monologue going on (on a side note, its usually in third person: “She wondered what to have for lunch . . .”). My friend said she used to ask her husband what he was thinking, and he would answer, “Nothing.” She got frustrated, thinking he was just refusing to tell her. After awhile, though, she realized he really was thinking nothing.
The ending of my novel is messy. Very messy. In talking with a co-worker the other night, he reminded me that guys, in general, don’t internally monologue. The next day, I went back to my ending to work on some new scenes, and they came out much less messy. I concentrated on setting and action to indicate feelings and thoughts rather than on internal monologue. This makes the writing more showy (vs. telly), more interesting, and more true to the character. I also have to remember that my readers are smart--I don’t have to spell every emotion out for them.
As I revise my messy ending, I’m going to work on description of setting, action, and physical feelings to indicate my character’s emotions and thoughts. After that, I need to go back through Parts 2-4 focused on the same thing. This could be disheartening, but I find it encouraging. I had been trying to figure out why Part 1 was so much better than the rest, and I think this is why.
Operation: Cut the Internal Monologue commence!