I’m doing a little Flash Back Friday, with a post first published on my facebook page. I’ve been doing a lot of posting about the Winchesters lately, so here’s a different topic for your enjoyment.
Thought Verb Thursday!
So, now that we’ve discussed what “thought verbs” are, let’s get more in depth. I’ve got a couple of examples about which I’d like your opinions. Let’s talk about know/knew this week, shall we?
“Andrea knew Charlie was getting impatient.”
So, we aren’t acquainted with Andrea or Charlie and without more information, we don’t know how well acquainted they are with each other. So how about…
“Charlie glanced at his phone, pretending to check his news feed. Tapping his foot, he glared at Andrea as she checked her reflection for the fifth time. From the corner of her eye she could see his brow scrunch up as he sighed.”
So now we know he’s impatient, why, and that Andrea is aware as well. But take this example.
“Sam knew Dean was upset and decided to keep his mouth shut.”
Many of you know Sam, Dean, and what Dean looks like when he’s upset. You are aware that Sam has been Dean’s brother all his life, so Sam isn’t in need of a lot of clues as to how his brother is feeling. But still…
“Dean pressed his lips together as he pushed the cabinet closed. He turned his back on the rocking cabinet and stalked across the room. Sam looked up at the sound of the slamming cabinet, mouth open. As he watched his brother cross the room on stilted, heavy heels, he closed his mouth and went back to the computer.”
The additional details are nice and we should strive to “show not tell”. But with two well-established characters, is the shortcut of “knew” acceptable in certain cases? What do you think? Which would you rather read? Do you agree with Chuck–
“Your story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking and knowing.”