I like to think, alot.
As a writer, it has always served me well for developing my characters, but I have to be careful that my pension for thinking doesn't spill over into my character's head.
The error is easy to spot when monologues abound, but solving them has been a difficult challenge. My inner wordsmith and I go head to head, fighting over the necessity of such thoughts and their oh-so-many words. To combat this writing hiccup of mine, I now have a yellow sticky note that sits on the top of my computer. It reads...
IF IT'S WORTH SAVING, IT'S WORTH SAYING.
Consider it a new writing checkpoint that allows me to scrutinize my sentences and the direction they (and my novel)are going to take. The discovery is two fold.
1) IF IT'S WORTH SAVING... allows me to assess need. Does the reader need to know a set of details - a recollection, a memory, a thought, an impression - in the context of the story NOW? If the answer is YES, it stays. If NO, then the section gets cut and pasted to a TAKEOUT FILE for safekeeping. (Not having to hit the delete button makes my inner writer happy.)
2) IT'S WORTH SAYING...allows me to keep the focus on dialogue. I may hold character thoughts dear but the danger in a conversation of one is the halt in storyline; the action quickly runs flat or worse, off track. To remedy this, I go back to my question of need but with a twist. If the need is there for the reader, then I ask, "who needs to say these words?" I then do a bit of improv, letting different characters try the words on for size. Hearing them said in different voices and viewpoints helps me to see their worth - can they stand as dialogue and who, in the end, can serve them best? The beauty of this process is that paragraphs of thought quickly get trimmed down to a few key sentences. When the right mix of character and words are found, the transformation is immediately felt on the page.
There will still be some words that do not bend to dialogue or other characters, that fight to remain a character's thoughts alone. That is okay because thoughts are more than just words -that is their worth. Challenge yourself to work with these inner voices and I am sure you will find a way to make them sing.
Do your characters like to get lost in their own heads? How do you keep the action still moving on the page?