Author Aerobics: Internal Dialogue Challenge

Want to join in? Here’s this week’s Author Aerobics challenge. Answers to the challenge will be posted on Friday. If you use this writing prompt, post a link to your entry in the comments below, and I’ll update this post with links to yours. Everyone’s welcome!


Internal Dialogue Challenge

What’s going on in your character’s head? If you are writing in the third person point of view, you will sometimes need to show what your character is thinking. The advice on how to handle it is mixed. Italics? No italics?

These are a few ways I’ve seen this handled:

  • Italics: Sally flung open the fridge. I’m starving!
  • Dialogue tags: Who finished the last of my birthday cake? she wondered.
  • Third person description: It had to be her little brother. She knew she should have hidden the cake somewhere less obvious.

Further reading:

This week’s challenge: Write a piece of fiction (1000 words or less) that includes moments of internal dialogue. The theme: “fireworks”


This week’s stories:

  • Fireworks Mods by Aidan Fritz – He aimed for the bell, and they came after him. It wouldn’t be so easy.
  • Kathryn’s Child by Stephen Watkins – It’s name was Shiva and it was her creation.
  • Fire Shooting by J.P. Cabit – You don’t want to be on the wrong end of this barrel.
  • The Old Woman and the Dragon by T.S. Bazelli – It’s never wise to keep a dragon as a pet.

15 thoughts on “Author Aerobics: Internal Dialogue Challenge

        1. Oh no! You just gave away my story! LOL I shall think about it. Last week I wanted to write about pigeons but ended up with a cannibal mermaid story, so who knows… *evil*

  1. I like this one! This comes up all the time in my writing, I think I use it as a way to compensate when the action is slowing down after a particularly fast-paced dramatic scene. Lets readers breathe. I just have to work on the consistent technique

  2. I do this ALL THE TIME with writing! Most of the time, the narrator takes on a multiple-personality-sort-of-deal, speaking as if he IS the character. (Miss Parka stared at the man sauntering down the sidewalk as if he was the president of the United States. Just who did he think he was? For goodness sakes, nobody should walk like that. Miss Parka turned, unable to bear the sight.)

    It’s interesting, fun, and very Ellen Raskin.

    Who knows; perhaps I’ll stick to the theme this week…ha ha ha

  3. Firework Mods.

    I don’t know whether I really noticed the italics much prior to seeing it in Steven Erikson’s novels (and I think he does it more often for some characters than others, but looking recently, I’m not absolutely sure.)

  4. I decided to use the Third Person Limited version of internal dialog. I’ve seen the italics done a lot, and when I was younger, I always assumed that’s how I would do it, but now that I’m older I’ve grown fonder of TPL.

    Here’s mine… my first sci-fi themed Friday Flash:

    Kathryn’s Child

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