1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  1. Tyler Danann

    Tyler Danann Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    6

    How to write characters quoting from books etc?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Tyler Danann, Dec 13, 2014.

    Just got a part in the book I'm wondering how to write as the character is reading from instructions. Is a ' required combined with speechmarks (")?

    This is how it is right now:

    Leyson read out the instructions left by Oakley.
    “Should I not return and a collapse occurs you must elect a Caretaker leader and seal off the way in,” Leyson said quoting from the notes. “We can't risk the hordes from the outside world swamping the place, looting and killing, so cut down trees and block off access. Hopefully I will make it through and hold the line with you, but if I cannot you must complete my work transforming this once mountain gulch and valley into a Mountain Hold...”
    Leyson went on detailing how they'd elect a leader.


    Or should it be:

    Leyson read out the instructions left by Oakley.
    “Should I not return and a collapse occurs you must elect a Caretaker leader and seal off the way in,” Leyson said quoting from the notes. “We can't risk the hordes from the outside world swamping the place, looting and killing, so cut down trees and block off access. Hopefully I will make it through and hold the line with you, but if I cannot you must complete my work transforming this once mountain gulch and valley into a Mountain Hold...”
    Leyson went on detailing how they'd elect a leader.
     
  2. Eric Byers

    Eric Byers Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Huntington IN
    I would use italic for the notation with a - at the beginning no quotation or otherwise. Im no expert though and I think this is more a question of style than rule. Though I may be wrong :) Hope that helps, sound good though. Good luck
     
  3. Tyler Danann

    Tyler Danann Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    6
    Italics sounds interesting to use, maybe man, maybe. By - do you mean em ---?
     
  4. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,696
    Likes Received:
    1,473
    [QUOTE="Tyler Danann, post: 1290994, member: 63729"

    Leyson read out the instructions left by Oakley.
    “Should I not return and a collapse occurs you must elect a Caretaker leader and seal off the way in,
    1/ Leyson said quoting from the notes. “
    We can't risk the hordes from the outside world swamping the place, looting and killing, so cut down trees and block off access. Hopefully I will make it through and hold the line with you, but if I cannot you must complete my work transforming this once mountain gulch and valley into a Mountain Hold...”
    2/ Leyson The Notes went on detailing how they'd elect a leader.
    [/QUOTE]
    1/ You've already said that Leyson is reading from the notes, so lose the repetition.
    2/ Leyson isn't detailing, it's the notes that he's reading from...and I'm getting tired of hearing Leyson's name!

    I'd agree with Eric about using italics.
     
    Tyler Danann and tonguetied like this.
  5. stevesh

    stevesh Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    646
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan USA
    I'd agree with Shadowfax about losing the repetition and disagree with Eric about the italics.
     
    Tyler Danann likes this.
  6. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    682
    Location:
    Sweden
    I agree with @stevesh. As long as you make clear when the character starts quoting (e.g. "Leyson brought out a paper from his pocket and started reading out loud") and when he stops (e.g. "He put the letter down.") you can treat it just as normal dialogue.

    And, btw, the two texts you posted are identical.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    9,540
    Likes Received:
    6,047
    Please, not italics!

    I would try to intersperse the exact quotes with the character's words. I'm also not so sure about the more formal and backstoryish elements of Oakley's notes--would Oakley assume that whoever he's writing the notes to don't know that the space was once a mountain gulch and valley? If they do know, why explain it?

    Sample possible rewrite:

    Leyson unfolded the sheet of instructions. "OK. It says, 'Should I not return, and a collapse occurs, you must elect a Caretaker leader and seal the way in.' OK, he's worried about outsiders getting in...here he says 'cut down trees to block off access'. All right, and then, 'Hopefully I will make it through and hold the line with you, but if I cannot, you must complete my work of creating the Hold....'" Leyson turned the page, still reading, and said, "He has instructions for how to elect a leader. I think that might be a little premature."
     
    The Cuckoo's Nest and Komposten like this.
  8. Eric Byers

    Eric Byers Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Huntington IN
    Yes mine is just shorter cause im on a smartphone. I guess i might be wrong about italics. Just my opinion on that though. I've seen it done before so thats why I suggested it. Im a 'novice' writer so I can really only offer my opinion as I have very little technical knowledge. That is changing quickly though. Take the advice of better writers than myself to be sure, I would have to agree on the repetitions though, really have to cut that back. I like Chickenfreak's suggestion. One day, all these guys will be tearing into me when I can post in workshop (If i ever get nerve enough) Hope your holidays go well and have a good night.
     
    Tyler Danann likes this.
  9. Tyler Danann

    Tyler Danann Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ok folks, I'm getting on the case now! Shadowfax. Your loud commands are heard, but please, a little less with your sharper tones my man! :)
     
  10. Tyler Danann

    Tyler Danann Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    6
    Also, should it be The Notes or just The notes. I see no reason for capitalization of 'Notes' unless I'm missing something Shadow? :)
     
  11. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,696
    Likes Received:
    1,473
    Agreed, my typo.
     

Share This Page