1. SamanthaMercer
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    SamanthaMercer New Member

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    Help Needed!!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SamanthaMercer, Jul 31, 2010.

    I've been working on a novel for a while now, and I'm about to start a new chapter. Here's my problem:
    I've incorporated a few flashbacks in previous chapters by italicizing the parts that occur in the past, but this new chapter is completely in the past. I'm not sure if I should italicize the chapter to follow the previous style or use regular print and certain details that make it obvious the chapter's in the past. What should I do? :confused:
     
  2. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    Option 1: It is all in italics

    Option 2: It begins with italics, and 'morphs into standard script', such as:

    "I remember it as though it was yesterday, I can still feel the cool air upon my skin [...]"
     
  3. SamanthaMercer
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    SamanthaMercer New Member

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    Oh, I like the second one :) thanks!!
     
  4. SamanthaMercer
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    SamanthaMercer New Member

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    Just another thought, would it be enough to italicize just the chapter's title?
     
  5. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    It depends I suppose - I use 'Chapter XX', whereas, by the sounds of it, you are actually naming chapters, so I guess only you know what the chapter is called and the context of it, and therefore whether it would work or not. Me personally, would keep it as is.

    EDIT: I would also (going back to the previous question) when morphing the style, do the reverse at the end; standard back to italics.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You should not use italics at all. Italics are not an all-purpose decoration for text that is "different" somehow. There are specific proper uses for italics, and this is not one of them!

    Never mind what you see in published books. Typesetting choices by publishers are by their choice, and they bear the full burdn of blame for rampant misuse, but a manuscript should only use italics for their proper uses. These include stressing one or two words that would not ordinarily be stressed in a piece of dialogue or narrative; embedded foreign words and phrases such as ipso facto; and titles of creative works such as 2001: A Space Odyssey. It does not include unspoken dialogue, and neither does it include dream sequences, telepathic communications, machine speech, or flashbacks.

    The preferred way of indicating italicized text in manuscript is underlining. There is no distinction between underlining and italics in a manuscript, other than the fact that underlining is harder to overlook.

    Please do not treat italics as duct tape. They don't fix everything, and if overused italics are much uglier that the rattiest duct tape.
     
  7. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I would say neither. And don't Italicize the flashbacks in the previous chapter either. It should be clear from the context that a portion is a flashback... if it isn't then make it clear... don't depend on fond tricks. Leave it to the publishers to decide whether it should be italicize or not.

    Edit: Didn't see Cog's post. I agree with it.
     
  8. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    Either or not, it is her book - she wanted to use them, and so the choices were there.

    I could (and maybe should) have included that option, too.
     
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  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This falls (yet again) under the umbrella of the A Manuscript is not a Published Work concept.

    A manuscript is a very different beast to what one finds between the pages of a book on the shelf at your local bookseller. Manuscripts answer to a very tight set of rules concerning format and presentation. The typeset trickery you see in many novels (especially, unfortunately, as of late) are the choice of the publication house. If the author had his/her work considered then they most definitely handed in a manuscript which complied to the rules of submission set by the publisher.

    That's all there is to it. Nothing more.

    When writing, your focus should be on your writing. Your words. Your ability to make the language dance to your marionette strings. Props like funky fonts or italics should be the very last thing on your mind.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good writers don't have to resort to fancy fontery to let readers know someone is thinking, or something is a flashback...

    using them that way in your ms just lets the agents and publishers know you're a beginner and not a good enough writer to not need them...
     

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