I don’t see a priest or a confessional. Heck, I’m not even Catholic. Guess I’ll just make the confession right here to all of you – I LIKE MIND HOPPING.
There. I said it. Right out in the open. Feels kind of nice to be out of the closet, or the hard drive.
Whether it’s the hero or the heroine, the protagonist, a second fiddle, a third fiddle or a maid who never laid hands on a fiddle, I want to know what they’re thinking. I’m a mind junkie. If a character speaks, the words are out there for the whole room to process. But if a character thinks something, but doesn’t say it, then only he or she AND THE READER are privy to that inside knowledge. And I like being an insider.
I want to know that even if the hero and heroine are hissing and clawing in public, that in private, they’d like to be grubbing and pawing. I want to know that he finds the way she sometimes slips and pronounces R’s as W’s adorable. I want to know that she’d like to brush that fallen lock of his raven black hair back into place with her tongue. I want to know if the heroine’s sister sees the secret looks passing between the lead couple and thinks they’ve done more than kiss, that her sister is in over her head, or that Da will go off the rails over the whole affair.
In real life, I wonder how daft my husband thinks I am. I wonder if my eldest son would really hurt me if I snuck up on him during the night and shaved that abominable beard he’s grown. I wonder if my youngest lives inside his head as much as I think he does and where that amazing imagination might take him. When I pick up a book, I don’t want to have to wonder, imagine, or work out clues from dialogue and physical actions.
I want the author to let me know what the character thinks and feels. That’s much more important to me than how he looks or what she wears. And by the great green toad frog, we all know that it’s more important than what either of them says. Let me inside the characters’ heads and hearts so that I can understand. As life kicks them around and love doesn’t go their way I can care. And when love and fate and karma smile and the characters overcome the obstacles to find their way to each other, I can cheer. Then I can close the book and tuck it away in my “keeper” pile and recommend it to all my friends.
All those books where the author wants me to decide what the characters are thinking or feeling from visual or verbal clues? They remind me of business lunches where I don’t know anyone. I’m glad to get out as soon as I can and do it without the least desire to go back.
When I’m at my computer crafting my own stories, I do my best to bring the reader along. The mind hopping express departs daily from my hard drive.