top of page

Internalization: What is it, why use it, and how to write it.

Internalization is what the character is thinking…his/her internal thoughts and feelings. Internalization adds texture and life to our writing and provides clarity and context for our readers. It brings out the emotions in a scene and allows readers to really understand a character and how he or she is feeling.
 
In the next few paragraphs I will more fully define internalization, why it is so important to your story, how to write internalization by providing examples.
 
But first, note, internalization will enhance your story and your characters. Without it, I promised you, it will be dry, virtually absent of emotion. Yeah. Emotion. The necessary element of any story and  in virtually any genre.
Emotion 
I bring your attention to Michael Hauge who is known to have a masterful ability to help writers uncover the emotional potential of any story. In his book “Story Telling Made Easy,”


(“STORYTELLING - Indie Books International” and Amazon) Hauge says successful stories that sell accomplish a variety of benefits:
 
·         they entertain
·         they educate
·         they inspire
·         they create a strong connection between readers/audiences and storytellers
·          they give listeners and readers the emotional experience of success*
 
*This last one speaks to emotion and is central to this blog. Hauge goes on to say, the reader “identifies with and experiences the emotions of the story through character.”  Therein lies the power of successful stories: emotion. Successful stories get readers not just to think, but also to feel.
 
What is internationalization?
It is the process by which writers allow readers to access, see, and feel characters' thoughts and internal struggles, offering the reader insight into their motivations, fears, hopes, and conflicts.
 
Internalization is personal. It’s often where the reader really gets to know a character because they understand what’s going on in the character’s mind…their internal/unspoken thoughts. It’s what is going on inside the point of view (POV) characters’ heads. It is what another character wouldn’t be able to see. For example, a character in your story who isn't your main POV character would have to intuit or guess, if they're not told.
 
Furthermore, internalization is a necessary tool for showing the world your characters live in and how they feel about that world.  
How to Write It
Here are five examples of internalization in writing fiction, using “showing versus telling” and appealing to the five senses: (For more information, you may want to check out my blog on “How Master the Art of Showing vs. Telling in Your Writing: 5 Best Practices.”)
 
Example of Sight
  1. Telling: "She felt anxious as she walked into the dark, eerie forest."

  2. Showing: "Her heart raced as she stepped into the dense forest, shadows dancing ominously between the trees. Every rustle of leaves and crackle of twigs underfoot seemed to amplify her growing sense of unease, sending shivers down her spine."

 
In the showing example, the writer appeals to the sense of sight by describing the darkness of the forest and the way shadows move. This vivid imagery helps the reader visualize the scene and experience the character's anxiety firsthand.
 
Example of Sound
1.       Telling: "He was terrified of the approaching storm."
2.       Showing: "The distant rumble of thunder sent a jolt of fear through him, each subsequent crash echoing louder and closer, like the angry growl of a beast drawing nearer with every passing second."
 
By describing the sound of the thunder as akin to an approaching beast, the writer paints a vivid auditory picture that allows the reader to feel the character's escalating fear.
 
Example of Touch
1.       Telling: "She was overwhelmed by grief."
2.       Showing: "As tears streamed down her cheeks, she clutched the crumpled photograph to her chest, the paper damp and wrinkled beneath her trembling fingers. Each memory etched into the image felt like a physical weight, pressing down on her heart."
 
In this example, the writer appeals to the sense of touch by describing the physical sensation of clutching the photograph and feeling the dampness of tears. This visceral description allows the reader to empathize with the character's grief on a deeper level.
 
Example of Taste
1.       Telling: "He was nervous about the upcoming interview."
2.       Showing: "As he sat in the waiting room, the metallic tang of adrenaline flooded his mouth, his tongue feeling dry and thick. Each swallow seemed to stick in his throat, as if his body was rebelling against the impending interrogation."
 
By describing the taste of adrenaline and the sensation of a dry mouth, the writer creates a tangible experience of the character's nervousness, allowing the reader to relate to the situation on a visceral level.

Example of Smell
1.       Telling: "She felt excited about the upcoming trip."
2.       Showing: "The scent of freshly brewed coffee and warm pastries filled the air, mingling with the crisp, salty breeze drifting in from the sea. Each inhalation seemed to infuse her with a renewed sense of anticipation, the promise of adventure lingering on the wind."
 
By describing the aromas of coffee, pastries, and the sea breeze, the writer creates an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation that the reader can almost smell, enhancing the immersive experience of the character's emotions.
 
In each of these examples, the use of showing versus telling and appealing to the five senses allows the reader to access the character's internal thoughts and emotions more deeply, creating a richer and more immersive, emotional reading experience.
 
While not every detail needs to be internalized, they are opportunities to deepen your story, connect your reader to your character, and facilitate emotion.

Please comment below.


That's all for now. Happy writing!

 

Comments


bottom of page