1. Rayo
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    Rayo Member

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    Italicize or leave as is?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Rayo, Feb 14, 2012.

    Hello everyone,

    I tried searching for this information online but I have not been able to come to an absolute conclusion. Please, could somebody let me know if the name of a specific medication is left as is in a story or would it be italicized. For instance, Claritin or Straterra to name two.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    I believe the problem is - there is no conclusion.

    Some Maunscript formats say do - some don't - so I sympathise.

    Firstly - whatever you are submitting - READ THE SUBMISSION RULES. They will tell you most, if not all of the editors requirements - and some editors will have different preferences so FOLLOW THEIR RULES - don't just ignore them.

    Secondly - contact the editor. IF they have left a contact for general enquiries - email them and ask how they want trademarked names idicated. Do they mind italics, do they care, do they want an underscore before and after_the word_?

    Failing all that - don't format it at all - The editor isn't going to lose their sweet little mind because you forget to italicise a trade name. (And if they do - would you want to write for them anyway?)

    Write a good story - a good editor will probably forgive a few misdemeanours in formatting.
     
  3. Rayo
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    Rayo Member

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    Thanks so much, Jowettc! I appreciate your advice.
     
  4. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    No, there is no reason to italicise them.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's not the name of a creative work or a form of transportation. Don't italicize it.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!... and the one before it...
     
  7. SeverinR
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  8. lameri
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    lameri Senior Member

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    No, you don't use italics for names of drugs.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, no.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    they'd go in regular font and " " since they're 'dialog' for the animal...
     
  11. Agatha Christie
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    I am really interested in this topic as I have used italics on occasion for a character's sudden thoughts. eg.

    One of my male characters has a hangover. He stands in front of a mirror and thinks:

    God I feel rough (in italics) God I feel rough, he thought (this doesn't sound quite right somehow)

    To me the italics show the reader that something 'different' is happening from narrative or dialogue.

    Also, when the story includes a lot of different styles of conversation, eg. telephone conversations, dialogue, narrative, email chats, sudden thoughts, timetables, lists etc. - I would have thought different layouts and italics, use of bold etc. would aid clarity so that the reader can see, at a glance, what is happening. Does it also not add interest for the reader to see differences in the way material is presented? Your thoughts.
     
  12. Enzo03
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    I almost never see bold print in novels and I would not recommend its use.

    I have seen italics used for thoughts but more often I have seen thoughts without italics in them. Some people find italics used for thoughts as very annoying, a pet peeve for some.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    No; I think that part of a writer's skill is making those things clear without needing to use formatting tricks. And I definitely don't agree that fancy formatting increases reader interest--a reader should be interested in the story, ideally lost inside it so that he's not even aware of the details of the page, rather than being dragged out of the story to decipher the formatting and layout.

    ChickenFreak
     
  14. Agatha Christie
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    Agatha Christie Contributing Member

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    Is the second example really clearer than the first?


    Example 1) clearly separating the telephone conversation, and using italics as well (not shown here), from the general narrative and dialogue

    She pulled out her mobile and called Louise: (narrative)

    I've got Simon here
    yes, the gardener. (telephone conversation)
    He wants to talk about the garden
    what to do about the autumn.
    OK. I'll tell him
    Bye

    'I've just spoken to Louise and she asked if you could come back Friday afternoon?' (dialogue)

    or Example 2) no formatting or italics

    She pulled out her mobile and called Louise:

    I've got Simon here. Yes, the gardener. He wants to talk about the garden. What to do about the autumn. OK, I'll tell him. Bye

    'I've just spoken to Louise and she asked if you could come back Friday afternoon?'
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good writers don't need to resort to fancy fontery to let readers know when someone's thinking...
     
  16. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is no need to separate the two conversations like that at all. Simply the actions and who she is speaking to must be clear. Look in other novels for examples of how writers do this. Note: they do not (or hardly ever) give pointers in brackets or use italics etc.

    Also, I don't think the girl making the call would ring off and before asking Simon if it's okay. She'd get the confirmation from him, tell Louise, then ring off. She wouldn't need to tell him she had just spoken to Louise, either, if he was standing there. On the other hand, if Simon isn't there when she calls Louise, your example doesn't make this fact clear. Oh, and there is no sense in trying to reproduce exactly what a telephone conversation is like, so you don't need to have the question/answer thing going on so much.

    Example:

    'Hi Louise,' (name) said into her mobile. 'I've got Simon, the gardener here. He wants to talk about what to do in the autumn. Hmm. Yeah. Okay, I'll tell him.' She looked at Simon. 'Could you come back Friday afternoon?'

    Simon nodded.

    'Yep, that's fine, Louise. Bye!'
     
  17. Daniel_Allan
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    I only Italicize foreign words. Within dialogue I format emphasis with italics.

    Most editors/whoever-else have varying formatting rules. What stands out more is poor grammar, the story itself, and most obviously (in a writers early career) dialogue. I always noticed that most unpublished authors have an horribly unnatural way of making their characters interact with each other.

    In short: focus on more important things, dude. I'd much prefer to see subtle signs of class in your writing. Watch the cliches (unless it's dialogue by a lame character), don't plan too much (because fleshed out characters will have THEIR OWN way of reacting to situations), and don't dwell on the same few pages until they're perfect (because writing is often a game of momentum-- you can edit the book when the 1st draft is done).

    The most important piece of advice is to STOP LISTENING TO PEOPLE LIKE ME!
    I've written seven novels and some novellas; most of the advice I got from people online and in workshops holds nearly NO VALUE. Most of them thought themselves as Dickens (or should I say Rushdie, because some greats are still alive). These people will tear apart all the wrong things about your writing, sticking to rules that seem to shirk the writing of your favourite published authors. I think I'll listen to David Gemmel or Arunti Roy before my local nerds-in-arms. A simple quote will help put this in perspective (and btw Stephen King feels the same):

    "Don't take financial advice from poor people"- Brad Sugars
     
  18. Agatha Christie
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    thank you Madhoca for taking the trouble to revise that bit of copy. I can see how your version is better than mine and also the discrepancies in my copy. So helpful!
     
  19. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're welcome, AC!
     
  20. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    ... biological binomial classifications (Homo sapiens), ...

    (They tend to be foreign words too, but that's not why they're italicised. They would be italicised even if they weren't foreign.)
     

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