1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Another NOOB question

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Alesia, Jun 8, 2013.

    What's the preferred way to express a person's thoughts?

    Bear in mind this is an extremely rough draft, so excuse grammar foul ups and what not..

    A.) "...the first thing she took notice of were her wrists. They were behind her back, bound together with thick ropes that dug painfully into her bare flesh. What the hell was this?"

    B.) "... the first thing she took notice of were her wrists. They were behind her back, bound together with thick ropes that dug painfully into her bare flesh. What the hell was this? she thought..."

    or

    C.) "... the first thing she took notice of were her wrists. They were behind her back, bound together with thick ropes that dug painfully into her bare flesh.

    What the hell is this?
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    The first novel I wrote I used example C, but then in my second novel I used B. But remember that in example A, it would not be uncommon for the readers to think that it's the narrator speaking the last sentence, so without any clear way of knowing it's someone's thoughts, it could get confusing. I would go with B or C to use thoughts, but if you want them to stand out a little more and break up the writing so it's a little easier to read, then I would definitely use C. However, if you make it especially known at the beginning of the book that the narrator is actually the main character speaking (if it is; I don't a tally know) then A might be the best, as it does not break up the flow of the writing and your readers would possibly read it more swiftly. :)
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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  4. Scot McPhie
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    Scot McPhie Member

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  5. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Preferred by whom? No grammar rules are broken in any of your examples, so all three could be used - there is no one correct answer. I'd personally go with B - but would try to implement A, if I could pull it off systematically and throughout the story/section. It could still be confusing, but (please don't kill me, this is just my opinion!) sometimes you want your reader to be confused. :)
     
  6. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    For me, I feel that it's c, which I use in most of my stories. That, as if I'm using third person. I wish you good luck with your writing.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog...
    do me a favor and give me your thoughts about placing a ? in the middle of a 'thought' sentence... it never looks right to me...
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I agree it looks odd, and for that reason I would probably put the tag before the thought instead of after it for interrogatives. If I used any tag at all. I think it would be a rare (or contrived) context that a literal thought interrogative would be mistaken for narration.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer A. If it's really hard to tell that the thought is a thought, then B can occasionally be used in the same work. I would never approve of C.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Not everyone agrees and people who insist there is only one way aren't considering just how many people there are that disagree with them.

    Italics for thoughts?, the thread.

    One of my posts, with some of the evidence.

    There are three different ways to write internal dialogue (thoughts) and in my opinion, based on a lot of recent research, all three ways are acceptable. You may need to consider some publishers' manuscript guidelines and follow those when they apply, but otherwise take your pick.


    Your quotes appear in the wrong place. You put quotes around thoughts when you are going to add, he or she thought.

    B (corrected) ...They were behind her back, bound together with thick ropes that dug painfully into her bare flesh. "What the hell was this?" she thought.

    You don't have to use quotes, italics or "she thought" in a first person narrative. It should be apparent from the sentences that your character is thinking what is written.

    However, it isn't always clear, no matter how well written, and many of the sources I researched suggested italics for internal dialogue were preferable because it was more clear to the reader.

    There are readers, some on this forum, who just don't like it. I say, oh well. I don't mind italics for thoughts and neither do a whole population of other readers.

    And when you do use italics for thoughts, if you choose to, they do not need quotes or to be followed by, she thought.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Oh Christ. Here we go again.

    It doesn't matter how loudly and frequently you mount that soapbox, it doesn't make it right.

    I'll stick with the Chicago Manual of Style, thank you. I don't care how many non-authoritative sources you dredge up. Italics are not the duct tape to fix sloppy writing.

    And that's the last word on the matter I will bring up in this thread. Rant on to your heart's content.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    We're not going anywhere again. That's why I linked to the past discussion. But you can't claim a victory you never had and go on to mislead the next forum member with your certainly. It's the evidence that matters here, not argumentum ad auctoritatem, (argument from authority).
     
  13. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Please, my English is not that good, so I don't get the joke: why would the use of italics imply sloppy writing that needs a duct tape??

    I don't get this one, too: Cogito, are you a de facto owner of this forum? :)
     
  14. Scot McPhie
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    Scot McPhie Member

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  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, and that has nothing to do with it. I am simply refusing to take part in another protracted argument with someone. I stated my point, and if someone wants to draw me into their silly rant again, someone is sadly mistaken.

    Scot, James Joyce was an Irish author close to 100 years ago up to about 70 years ago. Although there is much to study in his writing, the fine details of his punctuation and style are not particularly relevant to today's writing market.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    re A and B... if she's doing the thinking, she's not going to say 'was' is she?
     
  17. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do you think his punctuation, syntax, narrative structure stood in the face of the writing market of his own time?
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know, and I see no point in speculating. The publishing industry was vastly different then, not that I was around to see it firsthand.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    What is "a protected argument"?

    People can judge for themselves whether my exploring the italics for thought controversy and posting the evidence I based my conclusions on amounted to "a rant". I'm pretty sure that is not what defines "a rant".

    There are many currently published best selling authors who use italics for thought and a number of expert opinions that prefer the convention, as were cited in the thread I linked to. Other than checking the preferred convention of a publisher one submits a work to, the only reason cited not to use italics for thought was simply that some individuals do not like it when they see it. Reminds me of my father's dislike of long hair on boys.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Probably not.
     
  21. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow. Wo-ow.
     
  22. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    [MENTION=11513]Gin[/MENTION]ger: I would have no problem with what you are saying, if you didn't finish your presentation by piggybacking the statement that suggest italics for thought are somehow 'better' or 'preferable' 'says experts' because it's just not true. I am fascinated by your repeated attempts to convince everyone that it is, though.

    [MENTION=53427]Alesia[/MENTION]: choose whichever version you feel comfortable with, you won't be wrong no matter what you choose.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    When I said, "a number of expert opinions that prefer the convention," it wasn't conjecture. I cited two of those experts, their credentials and their opinions. In reading through multiple books on style, many gave no preference other than, "be consistent", but a few stated clearly they preferred the italics.

    You can interpret that to mean, preferred when needed, but there were a number of sources I reviewed that said very clearly, italics was their preference. I really did research this subject, getting a half dozen style books from the library and searching online. I wanted to know whether I should keep using italics, not because I'm in love with them, or as some imagine, dependent on them. I wanted to know because I'm a learning to be a writer. I want to do it right.

    After all that research, I'm confident I have a decently well informed opinion. Others have their own informed opinions, I respect that. But I can defend what I concluded with the sources I researched. The reason I am so adamant is because I took the time to do the research.



    That is my position also, there are 3 2 options, all both are equally good.

    Correction, as I re-read the references they say not to use quotes when the tag is 'thought'. Sigh...
     
  24. Scot McPhie
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  25. GingerCoffee
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    To emphasize a word within the italicized thoughts you reverse it and use regular font.

    In other places you use italics as you normally would. Using italics for more than one reason is no different than using quotations for more than just spoken dialogue.
     

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