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    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Example of William’s Internals

2023-12-21-solstice-aaron-burden-unsplashHappy Solstice! Dec. 21st, I mean…

This is quite the convergence: solstice on the 21st, Sunday will be (simultaneously) the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve, and then, of course—CHRISTMAS! the next day.

Busy weekend…

But as a special Solstice present <cough> — Writing Notes (with example):

Folk on the LitForum were having a discussion about character depiction and what constitutes ‘internals’ for a character. That’s the stuff that’s going on more or less inside a viewpoint character.

(A viewpoint character is the person through whose eyes you are experiencing the story. Claire, for instance is the only viewpoint character in OUTLANDER. Claire AND Roger are viewpoint characters in DRAGONFLY, Claire, Roger and Jamie are all viewpoint characters in VOYAGER, and so on… this doesn’t mean that the story is necessarily only the viewpoint character’s story; only that he or she is telling it.)

So, one person in the discussion, wanting to list what “internals” are, included “internals are body language, visceral responses, dialogue, action, and narrative…”. Someone else replied, “Only internal thoughts, perceptions, opinions, judgements, and emotions are internals.”

Mind you, opinion is just that, and writers have LOTS of different opinions on what to call things and how to render them, and that’s why it’s fun to talk to writers. <g>

However, I agreed with the first writer, and so posted a brief example (from Book Ten, because I’m working on it right now) illustrating why I thought so.

I figured even those of you who couldn’t care less about writerly technique might enjoy the brief piece (and those who do might enjoy the argument), so—in honor of the Winter Solstice of 2023…

[Excerpt from Book Ten (Untitled), Copyright © 2023 Diana Gabaldon]


Example of (William’s) Internals

NB: Bold type shows an internal (of any kind); bold plus italic indicates a “body language” internal. (I’m not marking any of Williams observations of Jamie, because while as thoughts, they’re certainly internal <g>, they’re essentially just a means of rendering the conversation that the characters are having, even though part of it is unspoken.)

Fraser was pushing their pace; only slightly, but William felt the sense of urgency in it. When they paused for food and to water the horses, he saw Fraser hobble his horse and then step back into the woods. To take a piss, he assumed, but unless the man was suffering from some indignity of age, he was taking a good deal more time about it than one would need to deal with a full bladder—and so far as he’d seen, Fraser suffered no such impediment.

“What are you doing?” he asked bluntly, when Fraser returned. “Or rather, what were you doing, just now?”

“Readin’ the trail,” Fraser answered without hesitation. He sat down with a sigh and opened the sack of provisions, from which he removed a bit of cheese wrapped in cheesecloth, much diminished by the appetites of the last three days. Fraser cut it scrupulously in half and handed William one of the crumbling chunks.

“For what?” William asked curiously. The road had narrowed and deteriorated, but was still very passable, with ruts running along a thick center stripe of burgeoning grass and wildflowers. “Do you have it in mind to hunt something for the pot?” The cheese had a tangy, lubricious scent that made his belly rumble, and he knew there was precious little else in the bag.

“Not for the pot, no.” Fraser swallowed the last of his cheese, licked his fingers and poked his long nose into the bag, sniffing. He made a small pleased sound and drew out the end of a dried sausage of some sort, from which he cut a large piece that he passed to William.

Appearing to notice William’s raised brow, he paused with his own share in his hand.

“The villains who burnt that cabin are still before us,” he said. “I want to catch them up, until I see if they have the woman with them. If not, they can go and find their own doom. Such men always do.”

“And if they do? Have her, I mean.”

Fraser shrugged briefly, and swallowed.

“Then doom will find them a bit sooner, I expect.”

The sausage was unexpectedly spicy, tasting not only of black pepper but something more exotic, that reminded him of Italy. It was tough and chewy, and it took a few moments for William to consume it. The more so, as his belly was slowly tightening.

“You take it personally,” he said. “This woman.”

Click to visit my Book Ten webpage for information on this book, and to read more excerpts from it.

Many thanks to Aaron Burden, for his beautiful photo, via Unsplash!

This excerpt was also posted on my official Facebook page on Thursday, December 21, 2023.