It seems to me, as I sit and listen to myself and others share our written works, that dialogue and description are safe. Thoughts on the other hand, being inside someone’s head, is far more dangerous.
As I writer, I have very little difficulty in setting the scene, describing the view, making characters speak and creating conversations. But real character development comes from emotions. From the brain. The thought process. What does the character think?
Today, as I worked on my new novel, I realized that the description and dialogue are easy because they reveal nothing about me. But writing what a character is thinking, well that just pulls the curtains back on my brain. And it is that notion of revealing what I think a character is thinking that makes it scary. It reveals something about me. So, for the most part, I shy away from it. Why? Because I am afraid of being judged. And the result is my characters are flat, stereotypical and just not real.
Character development is tough. But showing the thinking processes of characters fleshes them out, makes them real and believable. How they speak and act makes them individual and memorable, but what they think makes them real. Gives them impetus and motivation. It is something I struggle with when writing, and probably will do for quite sometime. But I keep telling myself that writing is like painting, I apply layers of words and sentences. Action, dialogue, descriptions, and lastly, the characters’ thoughts.
René Descartes said it first. “I think, therefore I am.”