Using italics for thoughts in third person limited point of view


Dec 2, 2020
North Carolina
Curious about people's thoughts in using italics for thought.

"I wonder where we're going, John wondered."

or stick with

"John wondered where they were going."

or would it be reasonable to have a mix of the two?
A mix is fine.

A third version would simply be "Where were they going?"

I prefer to use direct thought (the italics one) sparingly. Especially, long complex sentences in direct thought can sometimes feel unrealistic to me, because I don't tend to think like that.
Or a fourth version would be not to use italics but to continue the use of dialogue tags, which I prefer for "standard run-of-the-mill" thoughts, because...

...I find that I use italics only with no dialogue tags, in the case of character thoughts, because I want the thought to be highlighted and standout.

But I agree with @HareBrain, a mix is fine and probably best to aim for.
Sometimes it depends on context.
However it should be do-able without italics or quote marks.

For instance.

John had been leading her around, almost in circles, for over twenty minutes and Mary was beginning to wonder, where are we going.
I only use italics if the thoughts slip into first person or second person when I am writing third person.

If I am writing first then if my character is thinking in third or second then I use italics.

EG @tinkerdan I am tired so I am nicking John and Mary. If I ever get any royalties from them I will share them ;)

Mary trudged after John, her feet were aching and her stomach was so empty it was making so much noise it reminded her of entire section of an orchestra. There was still no sign of the restaurant. She stuck her tongue out behind his back because he was setting the pace she couldn't keep up with. If we pass that Italian one more time, I am going in, I don't care what he has planned. The smell is making my stomach ache.
I've always just done quotes, but now that I'm looking at some examples with just italics, I kinda like it. A mix is probably just fine.

Similar threads