"What's up with that?" she thought.

 I’m reading a book by an author I’ve read many times before (not naming the book until I decide if I like it or not.) Something is driving me bonkers in this book: the character’s thoughts are in quotation marks. It’s very disconcerting. Usually I’ll put a character’s thoughts in italics, but if I’m adding the words she thought, I’ll simply leave the thoughts unitalicized, and certainly never in quotes. Quotes are reserved for things spoken. It’s weird to read a sentence in quotation marks only to discover the she thought tagged on at the end.  I know this author doesn’t usually do this, so I wonder if her editor made the changes or what. Anyhow, I am becoming a curmudgeonly reader, aren’t I?


  1. brenda on December 17, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    I often wonder about that…in my fiction book about Vietnam…I know I used quotes for dialogue-but not when the characters were thinking
    This summer-hopefully work on my books-

  2. Brenda on December 18, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Good (great) books for those of you wanting to write–I’ll be taking rave &yet another writing class next semester-my last class…whew…
    Creative Nonfiction (Gerard) great for memoirs
    Phillip Lopate book (great for memoirs)
    Writing Brave & Free (Kooser and Cox)
    Reading Like a Writer-Francine Prose
    The last two are two of the books for my next class.
    The other two are from a Creative nonfiction class….
    Lots of good ideas…

  3. Kathy Holmes on December 20, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    I’ve read some books by British authors where the quotes were single quotes – which took some getting used to.
    I prefer no quotes when the character is thinking. But now I’m wondering about my own writing – I may have to take a closer look. 🙂

  4. Diane Chamberlain on December 20, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Kathy,
    I enjoy your blogs and your writing is perfect! Don’t change a thing.

  5. brenda on December 21, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    Not to give anything away but between tests at hospital today and cooking for the kids and grandkids who come Sat….I am rereading BRASS RING—Diane-where did you come up with the green mirror?????

  6. Diane Chamberlain on December 21, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    Hope your tests came out the way you’d like them to. I don’t remember where the idea for the “green mirror” came from. . . aren’t imaginations wonderful things?

  7. brenda on December 21, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    I have to tell you that the idea was absolutely magnificent-you amaze me over and over.

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