First-person writing can be a potent and personal method to convey thoughts and experiences to readers. By employing “I” or “we” as the narrator, the author establishes a direct connection with the audience and provides a glimpse of their personal perspective and emotions.
Whether you are writing a personal essay, journal entry, or memoir, mastering the art of writing in the first person can enhance the authenticity and relatability of your narrative. So, how to write thoughts in first person?
In this article, we will provide practical advice and valuable insights on how to write thoughts in the first person effectively, ensuring that you create a compelling and emotionally resonant narrative that immerses readers in your unique world of experiences.
How To Write Thoughts In First Person?
First-person writing involves expressing a character’s inner monologue or emotions directly from their point of view. This technique facilitates a deeper connection between the reader and the character by revealing their emotions, desires, and reactions. Here are some guidelines for effectively writing in the first person:
1. Use First Person Pronouns
When composing a character’s inner monologue in the first person, use pronouns such as “I,” “me,” “my,” and “mine.” These pronouns establish a direct connection between the reader and the character, immersing the reader in the perspective of the character.
Example: I can’t believe I made such a silly mistake.
2. Italicize Thoughts
Italicizing thoughts helps to differentiate them from regular narrative or dialogue, making it simpler for readers to determine when a character is internally expressing themselves.
Example: What a beautiful view, I thought; this place is truly breathtaking.
3. Keep it Stream-of-Consciousness
The stream-of-consciousness style enables readers to experience the character’s thoughts as they occur, with a sense of immediacy and authenticity.
Example: I hope she likes the gift. Should I have picked something else? No, this should be perfect. What if she already has it? Oh, I should have gone with the other option.
4. Be Consistent
When writing in the first person, consistency is crucial. Maintain the same narrative style and tense throughout the story to prevent reader confusion.
Example: I am savoring the sun as I stroll through the park. I suddenly recall having a crucial meeting later.
5. Use Thought Verbs Sparingly
Thought verbs such as “think,” “wonder,” and “realize” can become monotonous if abused. Instead, concentrate on explicitly expressing the character’s thoughts.
Example: I wonder what time the train will arrive. (Avoid using thought verbs)
Better: What time will the train arrive?
6. Avoid Quotation Marks
As opposed to dialogue, concepts do not need quotation marks. Use italics to distinguish them from the remainder of the text.
Example: Is it already time for the party? (Using italics to indicate thoughts)
7. Show, Don’t Tell
Show the character’s thoughts and emotions through their actions. Instead of directly stating what they are thinking, demonstrate their mental state through their actions.
Example: His heart raced as he approached the stage. He couldn’t believe he was about to perform in front of a large audience.
8. Use Inner Dialogue
Inner dialogue enables a character to converse with themselves, disclosing their inner conflicts and decision-making processes.
Example: I should call her and explain what happened. But what if she gets upset? Maybe I should wait and talk to her in person.
9. Mix Thoughts with Narration
Merge thoughts and narration to create a smooth flow in your narrative. This integration allows the reader to experience the events through the views of the character.
Example: As I walked down the dark alley, I couldn’t shake the feeling of unease. What if someone was following me? I quickened my pace.
10. Make Thoughts Relevant to the Plot
Thoughts should contribute to the development of the narrative or the characters. Avoid including lengthy digressions that add nothing to the narrative.
Example: She glanced at the clock and realized it was getting late. With a sigh, she decided to finish her work the next day.
11. Stay True to the Character’s Voice
Even in their musings, each character should have a distinct voice. Maintain their character’s personality and language usage in order for their views to be consistent with their character.
Example: I can’t wait to try the new dessert. It’s going to be epic! (Enthusiastic character)
I’m not sure if I want to try the new dessert. It might be too rich for my taste. (Cautious character)
12. Reflect Emotions Authentically
Thoughts are an opportunity to convey a character’s emotions directly and authentically. Use them to convey happiness, dread, sadness, or any other emotion the character is experiencing.
Example: I’m so excited about the upcoming trip! I can’t wait to explore new places and create wonderful memories.
13. Avoid Overusing Thought Tags
Readers should be able to discern that italicized text represents a character’s thoughts. Eliminate superfluous thought tags such as “I thought” and “I wondered.”
Example: I should finish this project soon, I thought.
Better: I should finish this project soon.
14. Show Gradual Changes
Use the character’s thoughts to demonstrate his or her growth and evolution throughout the narrative. Demonstrate how their thoughts evolve in response to new experiences and interactions.
Example: She used to fear public speaking, but now she feels more confident in front of an audience.
15. Use Thoughts to Build Empathy
Thoughts can be a potent instrument for developing empathy for the character. Permit the reader to comprehend the character’s motivations, anxieties, and desires, thereby rendering them more relatable and endearing.
Example: She looked at her reflection and wished she could see herself as beautiful as others saw her.
This was all about how to write in first person. Writing in the first person allows you to directly share your thoughts and experiences with your audience, resulting in a more intimate and engaging narrative. Embrace your authentic voice and emotions to make your narratives more engaging and persuasive.
Use vivid details and captivating narrative techniques to draw the reader into your world while maintaining a balance between self-expression and reader engagement. Maintain coherence and focus in your writing, ensuring that your ideas flow naturally and purposefully.
Thank you for reading!