1. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    Doing inner monologues

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by A.L.Mitchell, Mar 3, 2012.

    I am near the part where i think inner monologues is pretty improtant to the plot. This will be with a young adult and the killer at different times. Ther thing is, I don't know if I should do it in different chapters, the chapters will be pretty short. Do you think it's a good way to build the tension up? Is it best for doing it in Italics and in first person? As I wanted to induge in their past and how the two characters felt.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do not use italics for unspoken dialogue. Write it as normal text without quotation marks. Set the context to make it clear that it is literal thoughts.

    There are many, many threads covering this issue.

    Also, read this: He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue
     
  3. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    The novel is in 3rd person through? Thanks for the advice through, Cogito. How do I make it clear when it is inner monologue through?
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can stick to third person and just report the thoughts or use first person (which then makes it the monologue) If they are long I wouldn't use italics, just make it clear they are monologues.

    Use the situation or state he thought to make it clear.
     
  5. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    Thanks for the help. So how shpuld I make it clear that it is a monologes? I'm only learning through.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Note that because your narrative is third person and past tense, the fact that the inner dialogue is present tense, and more importantly, first person, helps the reader distinguish the two without putting a dialogue tag in every sentence.
     
  7. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    Well, would it be confusing for the reader to put it in first person. Mark Billingham did his monologes in italics and that lasted two pages. I do however understand what you are saying through. I'm only learning through.
     
  8. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    He was still confused as he wondered whether people would understand it if he just told everyone what the character was thinking rather then some other literary device. “What should I do?” he thought to himself, looking once more at the blank piece of paper.

    Take your pick, flip a coin.
     
  9. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    Thank for the help, sir. It is time for me to make a desison on how I should do it.
     
  10. Henning
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    Henning Member

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    I actually think it's better with italics. Some of the best writers I've ever read used them and it worked perfectly and helped a lot with connecting to the character.
    To me the no italics thing is something that gets repeated over and over and that people eventually believe. Both can work very well, there are many examples out there to prove it, and all it comes down to is personal preference. I prefer italics, both in my work and in others', but not using them won't make me sigh either.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whichever way you fall in terms of your personal preference on the italics question, I think that it's important to realize that no publisher or agent is likely to fault you for _not_ using them, and many of them may fault you for _using_ them. So if you become dependent on the italics and don't make the thought-versus-speech-versus-narrative distinction clear with your word choice, and you want to submit to someone that doesn't tolerate italics, you've got a nontrivial rewrite to do. If, on the other hand, you do make that distinction clear, you don't have any rewriting to do.

    ChickenFreak
     
  12. Henning
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    Henning Member

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    Or you could just send your work to Europe where, if it's good, it will be appreciated whether you hit I or not.

    Only kidding, but which publisher or agent faults authors for a stylistic choice? I've never heard of that before but now I'm curious, do you have an example?
     
  13. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    This went reasonably well in Tess Gerritsen first novel The Surgeon. Separate chapters for the killers inner monologue, italics, first person pov. The rest of the book was third person limited with 2 pov characters. It was pretty effective, definitely built tension. But I wouldn't send the manuscript with italics in it, this is probably something that's done for the final product.
     
  14. Helga
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    Helga Member

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    The way I see it is you can either be like everyone else, and refuse to use italics or you can be somewhat original and use them. A serious publisher is not going to care about the italics. It all depends on the type of font you are using. Italics makes it absolutely clear that you are referring to your character's inner monologue, as does Cogito's technique.

    If every great author simply listened to the way things were supposed to be written, we wouldn't have advances in literature. The decision is up to you, not any of us!
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    All of 'em. Well, I haven't taken a poll, but writing and manuscript standards exist, and naturally publishers and agents care whether you're aware of them, have mastered them, and respect them. If an agent has a bunch of manuscripts that are high quality, readable, and follow all standards, and a bunch that are high quality, readable, and will have to be edited from top to bottom because they don't follow standards, and he can only take on one new book, he's going to go with one of the first group.

    Remember that agents and publishers are not desperately searching for one, just one, good book, so desperate that they'll grab anything that shows potential. They're choosing among many, many good books, so the book that is not only good, but professionally presented, has an advantage.

    OK, I started out answering this sarcastically, and got a grip. So I'll just say: Yes, indeed, many serious publishers care whether you follow their manuscript submission guidelines and style guidelines. They do not create those guidelines for the fun of it; they create them because they expect them to be followed.

    If you're applying for a job and the application calls for "blue or black ink" would you fill it out in pink pencil because "A serious employer is not going to care..." whether you follow their directions? Would you print your resume as a small bound book of business-card-sized pages instead of on the standard paper size? Would you wear an off-the-shoulder evening gown to the interview?

    People do care whether you follow standards. The reason for those standards may not be obvious to you, so the standards may not seem important to you. But they're important to the person who set them, and to the industry that uses them.

    ChickenFreak
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read the MANY other threads on this topic. I don't feel like explaining in depth every time this arises. There are specific uses of itlics, and unspoken dialoguie is NOT one of them.

    And we are talking about manuscript submissions. What happens afterwards, in the publication phase, is a different matter which includes not only inappropriate use of italics, but also font changes, text in graphics frames, illustrations, and more. Do not follow those examples in manuscript submissions if you wish submissions editors to treat you as a professional.

    You can follow this recommendation, or you can ignore it. I have researched it extensively, and you won't see me use italics in manuscript for anything but the uses described in authoritative references like the Chicago Manual of Style.
     
  17. Helga
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    Helga Member

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    I'll research this a little more, Cogito. Thanks for the differing opinion. Oh, has following these guidelines got you published? Or are you a publisher? I'm curious to know how you understand so much about the process.
     
  18. Henning
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    Henning Member

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    It's no problem Cogito, you don't need to explain anything. I am a published author and I like to think I know a little bit about the business that feeds my family generously.
    Now on topic, I have never heard of an agent or publisher refusing a manuscript because of italics, unless they are impossible to see. In many cases, there will be different requirements and they might ask you to change the way the monologue is marked. Follow the requirements. It's not the italics themselves I'm talking about, but the style. Sure you might have to underline in the manuscript, but that's just the manuscript. Whether it's underlines, italicized, or in green print with hearts on top of the Is, it's the same thing. I'm probably going to get banned for this post since someone is going to assume I'm debating, but unspoken dialogue IS one of the uses for italics.
     
  19. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    Thanks for the help everyone. I think I know where I be doing now.
     

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