If you read many blogs about writing, you’ve seen this advice before: ‘Don’t ever use the phrase she thought to herself, because it’s redundant. Of course she’s thinking to herself; to whom else could she think, you silly goose?’
Well, let me tell you…
Not long ago, I edited a science fiction novel in which it was sometimes necessary for the author to use the phrase he thought to himself, in order to distinguish thoughts the character keeps private from thoughts he shares with, for example, his younger brother. The main character in that novel is a telepath, y’see. 🙂
This is one more example of the sort of writing issues mainstream authors never have to deal with, because it never comes up in the fiction they’re writing. There is nothing wrong with fiction in which none of the characters are even the slightest bit telepathic (most of us like to imagine worlds unlike the one we know), but I do wish the creators of the Immutable Rules of Writing (hey, I just hit the halfway mark on my weekly sarcasm quota!) would stop creating Rules that ignore the possibilities of non-mainstream fiction.