more on internal narrative

My writing partner and I had a recent discussion about writing emotion. He felt it was the most difficult hurdle to cross and the rest of it comes easier for him. I have no doubt, for him, that's right.

For me, not so much. I have a tough time writing emotion. I tend to show a reaction instead. Occasionally I'll venture inward with a physical reaction. But often I try to implement pacing and action to show mood, like in this exchange between Trinidad and Castile:

He turned to find Castile close behind him, holding his cloak.

"Thanks," Trinidad said, reaching out. His fingers found Castile's amid the folds of the cloak. Castile gripped his hand and their eyes met.

"You saved my life back there," Castile said. His voice was very low.

Trinidad felt his blood pulse in his throat. Castile wouldn't have been in danger at all, had Trinidad not insisted on staying in the barren to meet the centaurs.

"I won't be so careless with it next time," Trinidad answered.

One of my critters accuses me of writing in distant third and not giving enough internal narrative. I'm not sure if she's right or might be a style thing. I could be wrong. I'm really not sure.

All I know is that I loathe books with tons of internal narrative. You see it most often in those female protagonist books like urban fantasy, which a lot of women love, and which drives home why I don't "get" most women. Is this how they really think? Little snide comments on everything someone says or does around them? Do their minds really race along like that? Do they really focus more inwardly than outwardly? Of course, I'm a fairly inwardly facing person, but that's cuz the voices won't shut up, not because I'm all the time analyzing my emotions and why someone's doing what they do. Truly, I have a lot of female friends, and I love them dearly. But I spend a lot of time feeling on guard, too, like I'm about to do or say something "non-female" or something.

Some folks use a deal of internal narrative to establish sympathy for the character. But I just need to identify with a character enough so I can step into their shoes and ride out the story. Too much thought that doesn't sound like my own gets in the way. Maybe it's a taste thing, I don't know. (I'm thinking Gaiman, here. Caring about his characters sneaks up on you and I really love that.) But I do know I'm constantly questioning my own style.

How 'bout y'all? What's your style? How much internal narrative do you use?

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