Come check me out at BLOGGING IN BLACK [LINK] today for some quickie editing tips. Here’s one below:


Characters often “think”.

I don’t want to see him tonight, Marcia thought to herself.

I hate thinking about this, Robert thought to himself. It always ends the same way.

See a problem with the two examples above? Check out the words “to herself” and “to himself”.

When people have thoughts, no one knows about the thoughts until the people express them in dialogue. “to herself” and “to himself” are redundant; we know Marcia is thinking inwardly – to herself just as we know Robert is thinking inwardly – to himself. End with THOUGHT.

To check out other quickie editing tips, head to Blogging in Black [] and LEAVE YOUR OWN THOUGHTS!


  1. I wonder if you even need to say, “Marcia thinks”. I suppose it depends on the context and how close your 3or person POV is.

  2. I love this – thanks for the education. Shouldn’t the period be on the inside of the quotes though?

    Something like this…

    Characters “think.”

    Lemme know if I’m wrong – that’s the way I’ve been doing it for year. Now that I think about it – I’m not sure why – lol. Maybe I learned it a long time ago.

  3. Fairy, I agree with that, too. Depending on the context of the story, you might not even need, “Marcia thinks.”

    OH, and Darius. American Usage dictates that periods ALWAYS go within quotation marks. It follows no logic – just simply, thou must place periods within quotation marks, LOL

    There are a few naughty things I do solely because of British conventions – that “think”. is one of them, :-/

  4. I didn’t know that about the American usage for full stops. I’m English, and your Characters often “think”. is normal usage here. I think we only put the full stop inside the quotes when the whole sentence is in quotes, e.g. “Hurry up, you’re late for dinner.”

  5. Fairy,

    When I edit, I always go by the American usage, but when I do my own personal writing, I can’t help but leave the period outside the quotation marks.

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