1. shaylyn
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    shaylyn Member

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    Dialogue that isn't really dialogue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by shaylyn, Aug 24, 2012.

    Here is the part in question.

    Then fingers wrapped around my arms from behind and began to pull me back. No! I wanted to scream. I can't leave my brother down there!

    Now the "No!" and "I can't leave my brother down there" aren't actually being said, obviously. But would I put them in quotations as if they were being said? What is the proper format in this situation?
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    no, they don't need to be in quotation marks. If you're running a first person narrative, then that's acceptable. Now, if it's a pure thought like: Man I hate this place, Tom thought, etc etc then you'd want to be it's on paragraph. Otherwise, I don't think it does, but I could be wrong. Depends on whether your character is speaking or thinking.
     
  3. NuttyStuff
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    NuttyStuff Member

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    I would put it in the slanty writing this is written in. At least that is what I see most often in the books I read. You could also put single quotes.
     
  4. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Single quotes should be used only inside double quotes (unless you're British, or are using a specific word in a specific meaning in certain types of academic writing). Italics works, but according to many here, it's not recommended, especially if you want to be published.

    Honestly, the way you actually wrote it is the the best. You might play with the wording to get it a bit clearer, but style wise, IMO, you did it right.
     
  5. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is fine as it is. First person pov - you say (I wanted to scream) that shows that the words aren't spoken. Maybe a comma in place of the full stop after scream.
     
  6. Walshy1595
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    Walshy1595 Member

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    This is how I do it, and I've seen it done plenty of times before. I'm not entirely sure about the single quotes thing though.
     
  7. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    (slanty) writing aka italics is a sign of a new writer.
     
  8. rainen
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    rainen New Member

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    I usually go with italics whenever a character is thinking something. Though punctuation is also very important and can mean the difference between your statement making sense or not.
     
  9. Walshy1595
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    Walshy1595 Member

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    Not necessarily, everyone has their own styles and preferences. That's all it really is
     
  10. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    Fantasy writing makes use of italics, but usually when people are speaking in another language other then the one commonly spoken. Its a way to not have to invent a whole language, but rather a few key words, while the rest is still spoken in the language your writing is in. It can be useful, however, I don't believe I've seen it used as a way to indicate thoughts. Thoughts can be unspoken sentences, and therefore it must be a silent part of the dialogue. If its just a single word screamed in your mind, but its not necessary to make it seem that your character sat down on their haunches and just screamed NO silently, then keep it a part of the sentence, a silent response that adds to what is happening in the action.
     
  11. auntiebetty
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    auntiebetty Active Member

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    I also use italics, and in a different font, to introduce a new chapter. I've seen similar introductions to new chapters in other books. For other writers, sometimes the intro is a sentence or two from a poem or a song or a famous quote.

    But, I most appreciated the post that said to use italics to indicate what a character is thinking when it is the character voicing the thought.
     
  12. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Use of italics for internal thoughts have been dropped in the newest, 15th version, of the Chicago Manual of Style.

    It also depends on the publisher, because some still use the underline conversion to italics on their machines. Strictly up to their opinion. However, if you've done a good enough job writing, you wouldn't need it to help.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Are you saying there is an edition that allowed such use? Can you cite, please?
     
  14. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I'm reading Dune right now, and Frank Herbert uses Italics for thought on literally every page, and that book is hailed universally as a classic. If he could do it, why is it not okay for unestablished writers?
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sigh. Here we go yet again...

    First, what you see on a bookstore shelf is not necessarily acceptable in manuscript. Also, Frank Herbert published Dune decades ago - you need to know what is correct now.

    Finally, well-established writers can get away with all kinds of crap that will get a new writer's manuscript flushed. If you're really interested, this question has been debated to death and well beyond in MANY threads. Let's not start it all over again. Please.

    I'm honestly tired of trying to explain it. Do as you will. I can't stop you, and if it is the factor that annoys a submissions editor and tips your manuscript into the reject pile, you'll probably never find out.
     
  16. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Good enough. Thank you for at least attempting to explain it.
     
  17. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or a very experienced writer ;)
     
  18. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen it in stuff as recent as 2009. Mind you, that was a very well-established writer so they have a little less fear of the slush pile, and I only saw the finished product, not what was in the manuscript (and nor was I privy to any discussions between the author and the publisher).
     
  19. auntiebetty
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    auntiebetty Active Member

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    I've discovered a helpful web site. I've been using it for free and without logging in.

    Writing Fiction@suite101

    Sometimes I just type words in the search bar and answers come up. For instance, I typed in: Handling Internal Dialogue in Fiction

    I also have used:
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/marks/quotation.htm

    I love the Writing Forum best!

    Dear Cognito:

    I am interested to know if the 15th Chicago Style Manual is now the Bible for fiction manuscripts. My writing teacher this past summer was listing a totally different manual. I didn't buy any yet, but feel I should get THE RIGHT ONE.

    Thank you for your continued patience with newbies.

    auntiebetty
     
  20. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think a publisher is really gonna throw your entire MS to the bin because you used one line of italics. If the publisher did, then the truth is, the rest of your MS probably wasn't great anyway. Something this minor - a small case of formatting - could easily be edited out at the publisher's discretion, after all. Just don't stick italics in too early into the MS if you're not sure ;) Mine's near the end, so by that point if the publisher isn't convinced, italics or not wouldn't really make a difference. I used italics only twice for flashbacks and it's only for one or two sentences, but the rest of internal thought are non-italicised throughout my MS.
     
  21. ...
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    ... Member

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    In Irvine Welsh's Filth he wrote page after page in italics, describing the worm of guilt that was eating him from the inside. Trainspotting was also written in Scottish slang which as a reader I had to get used to. However the story was so good i easily over looked it.

    I think the thing with italics is that readers find them annoying. However by the time anybody gets to the italics hopefully they are so wrapped up in the story they don't care any more. If you have to blame things like italics for failings then i think one needs to reevaluate whether writing is the best thing for them. If you're good, you will stand out a mile... surely?

    I'm just a nobody though and my opinion should be taken with a pinch of salt, never sent anything away for publishing, never been published. My credentials rest only in my common sense, and since when has the world ever made sense?
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Chicago Manual of Style is probably the most comprehensive and detailed writing guide for American English, but it is aimed primarily at journalists rather than fiction writers. In it you will find answers you will not find elsewhere.

    I don't believe in putting all your faith in ANY single reference. But the CMS is one of my treasured resources.
     

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