1. Punctuate THIS!
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    Punctuate THIS! Member

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    Inner monologue in quotation marks?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Punctuate THIS!, Sep 17, 2009.

    I'm guessing by what i've learned so far that you do put ones inner monologue in quotation marks, as it is--from one point of view--spoken by someone.

    I just wanted to hear it from someone else.

    And how about random sounds? Should the "ding-dong" of a door bell be within quotation? What do you guys think?
     
  2. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Arguments for and against, but I'd suggest not using quotation marks for internal dialogue/thoughts, or for sounds. Sounds are 'heard'.
     
  3. witch wyzwurd
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    witch wyzwurd Contributing Member

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    Italics. Next, an example.

    As Jason sat on the bench, many new ideas ran through his mind: Where did this bench come from? Who invented the grass? Where am I? He continued ruminating until he answered his own questions. I did. I'm in my own train set.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree with none for inner dialog, since it's not spoken aloud and that's what " " are meant to be used for...

    but sounds are heard, just as spoken dialog is, so yes, they can go in " "... and i would probably put them there...

    the final decision will be your publisher's, based on their house style rules...
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, this is not recommended, or standard. Unspoken dialogue should be in normal text (not italics) and not enclosed in quote marks.

    This may help: He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue
     
  6. witch wyzwurd
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    witch wyzwurd Contributing Member

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    Yep. Cogito is right. Blend it in with the story using undecorated text. Sorry. My fault. I've learned something here. Time to edit my short story to reflect this new bit of data.

    I'll add this link:

    http://www.writing4success.com/tipsheet21.htm
     
  7. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    This kind of question is one that can be answered by looking through your books at home and seeing how other authors handled it (of course, if you manage to get a publisher for it, they may have different rules, as maia pointed out).

    Here's how it's handled in Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (the bold highlights are mine):
    The sound of the noise is placed here in italics:
    Here, italics are used as the protagonist recalls a question her mother had asked:
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Marina, don't mistake publisher typesetting choices for good writing practices. It is not good practice to use italics to designate unspoken dialogue.
     
  9. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about the 2nd & 3rd examples--describing a sound and recalling a voiced question? Would the same rule (publisher typesetting choice) apply?
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The third is spoken dialogue, and should be enclosed in quote marks.

    The second isn't dialogue at all. I'm not positive what the standard is for phonetically rendered sounds.
     
  11. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    It's a lost cause, Cogito. It's a lost cause.

    Nearly everyone in publishing is doing italics, and it's too late now. It's kind of like the Obama care that will pass and socialize healthcare. Too late, now. You can't do anything.
     
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  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I dispute the assertion that everyone in publishing is doing italics. Besides that, supposedly this is a forum of writers, not publication house typesetters.

    Good writers don't write in a way that requires or assumes a particular typesetting choice. If you write your story in such a way that your unspoken dialogue is clear without any nonstandard text decoration, you won't be at the mercy of the typesetter.

    Don't be lazy. Don't be sloppy. Learn the correct way, and use it.
     
  13. Punctuate THIS!
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    Punctuate THIS! Member

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    So nothing? I should go to the store, Mike thought to himself, but I don't want to miss my favorite TV show.

    Does that seem right?
     
  14. Punctuate THIS!
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    Punctuate THIS! Member

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    What if the character hears his inner dialogue fasioned as outter dialogue speaking back to him, like an echo of his own thought, not comming from the character, but to the character?
     
  15. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Based on the advice of Maia and Cog, plus the article WW posted, I plan to not use italics unless it's spoken dialog or a sound that is heard and phonetically rendered. When I'm 21 and there's a major bidding war on my book (I kid!), the winning publisher (remember, just kidding) can then decide whether they want to use italics on internal/unspoken dialogue or not.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no good reason to put noises in italics, but a very sound [sorry for the unintended pun!] reason to put them in " " since they're heard, just as spoken dialog is...

    so, for your mss, i'd strongly suggest keeping thoughts/inner dialog in normal font and putting sounds in " "... if you get a publisher who likes either/both done another way, it'll be up to their book stylist to change it... meanwhile, agents and editors will see mss that look like they've been written by a seasoned writer, not a know-little-newbie...
     
  17. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I never put sounds in italics or quotes. If the publisher cares, I can change it. I don't use them very often, regardless.
     

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