1. SandraLSC
    Offline

    SandraLSC Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ky.

    Adding a note

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by SandraLSC, Aug 28, 2010.

    Not sure if I have this in the right area, so I'm sorry if I don't.

    I am wondering about the correct way to add a note/letter in a story. This is a novel, if that makes any difference. The main character is reading a note that was left for her. Should it be in italics or not? I have found a couple of books that had letters in them, but they were both done differently.

    If it makes any difference, this is a YA novel and the note is short and casual (not like a letter from a bank or anything). Is it better to just sort of summarize the note through narration than include it word for word?

    Thanks, guys!
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It's your choice as a writer whether to show the letter verbatim or to discuss its contents in summary. If you show it verbatim use a block quote (see He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue)
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ditto that... if it's more than a few words, a block inset would probably be best...

    and don't use italics in any case!
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    Italics do make the eyes bleed a bit in a vast block, true. :p If it's YA and a fun story, then go ahead and use a different font or something.

    (Though, to my "vast block" comment, in one of my novels, a character dashed off several short emails at one point which I put in italics, but they were 3-4 lines long each, and seperated from each other by a fair bit of writing each, and I felt pretty much not a block of text especially compared to the sort of paragraph I sometimes use... :p)
     
  5. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Please do not use italics or font changes for this. Use a block quote, i.e. indent the quoted material relative to the normal narrative.

    If your publisher chooses to play with fonts, that is their prerogative. But do not pull siuch stunts in a manuscript.
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    That is boring. :p Do it in the fanciest font you like, then change it for the manuscript at the last possible minute when you no longer have to look at it. :p
     
  7. Evelyanin
    Offline

    Evelyanin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    10
    Just be careful that it still makes sense after the fact. What a waste of effort it would be to send in a manuscript that makes the publisher scratch his head and wonder what you were smoking when you wrote it.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    I don't have to reference the fact I wrote it in 65 point bright orange Comic Sans in the text itself. :p

    (Please, don't think ill of me - I use 12pt black Times New Roman like most sane beings :p)
     
  9. Evelyanin
    Offline

    Evelyanin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    10
    Italics Version:

    Non-italics version:

    As you can see, just changing the italics won't cut it. You have to make sure it works without too. If you highlight your work, take the italics out, print, stick it in an envelope, and send it off to the publisher, you may miss something very important. Publishers want to see perfect work. Mistakes are signs of bad work. If the work looks bad, they are not going to bother finishing the manuscript. The more mistakes you have in your work, the more unlikely it is you will get published. Chances are, your manuscript may have a few minor mistakes. Don't include the obvious ones on top of that.
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    ... Am I forgetting that the rest of the world doesn't have OCD over writing again? I proof-read for fun. :p Heh. My advice is for the paranoid, anxious editing class of writer, I guess. :p

    Rest of the world: Check your italics, guys! Like, right now!
     
  11. Evelyanin
    Offline

    Evelyanin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    10
    This is a writing site. There is no room for fooling around, since it would confuse people. In the back of their heads they may remember something about being allowed to use italics in their work. Most people here are looking to get published at one point. We try to make things as clear as possible for them.
    Besides, if you hang around long enough, you'll see that we do have a lot of "fun", and the writing doesn't even have to suffer for it.
     
  12. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    I don't wanna make it sound like I'm arguing, but I am so much in favour of having fun with all aspects of writing. If you can't fool around and take yourself as a joke sometimes, where can you stand? If you KNOW what's right, there's nothing stopping you doing what's wrong until further notice. Someone suggested the correct method, and I suggested un-blah-ing it until you have to show it to someone else in an official capacity. :p

    Mind you, I'm terminally silly, and have never taken myself, anyone else, or anything else, seriously without at least a grain of salt. You're talking to someone who'd happily call a main character "Potato" for 300 pages until completion then do a find and replace once they'd thought of a suitable name. :p

    Anyways. I'm here to fool around because writing is my life and I'm not taking life seriously. :D
     
  13. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Mellie, the whole question of italics and font stunts is no joke. It's a sensiutive topic in writing, because there is a widespread myth that it is perfectly acceptable any time the writer wants the writing to stand out as different.

    It's just the wrong topic to treat frivolously.
     
  14. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    amen to that!

    sane non-writer beings [or non-serious writer ones], perhaps...

    but most seasoned and serious writers use courier new font, since they know it's the most universally acceptable one, because tnr is too cramped and tiny for reading all day, every day, as agents and editors must do...
     
  15. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    Oh god that font makes my eyes bleed. :/ There's something I'll only be changing to at the last minute. :p
     
  16. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Also, TNR is a proportional font, so typos from repeated narrow letters like i or l are easier to overlook than with a fixed pitch font like Courier. A fixed pitch font also makes it easier to mark errors on hard copy of the manuscript.
     
  17. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    yup, that too!
     
  18. SandraLSC
    Offline

    SandraLSC Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ky.
    Thanks for all the responses, guys, I really appreciate it. I didn't mean to start an argument over italics and font, though!
     

Share This Page