1. wonderland
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    wonderland Member

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    Need some basic tips on how to format a bit of text

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by wonderland, Jul 12, 2013.

    we have our viewpoint character setting out some newspaper clipping and I don't know how to place newspaper headlines. So...

    ---

    He turned an ear to regard them momentarily, then snapped back to survey the spread of newspaper clippings:

    INSERT NEWSPAPER HEADING A HERE, INSERT NEWSPAPER HEADING B HERE.

    ----

    And then perhaps how to format an excerpt of one of those. Would that be in double speech marks etc.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, 'turned an ear to regard them' doesn't make any sense...

    next, what you want to quote as a headline is not a 'spread of...clippings' so that needs to be changed...

    and the headline itself would simply go in " " as part of a sentence... perhaps something like:

    if you want to include the news article, the best way is to insert the text as a block indent... with margins set 10 spaces in from either normal side margin... block indents do not go in " "...

    hope this helps...
     
  3. wonderland
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    wonderland Member

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    Thanks for getting back to me and for the extra crits too.

    The character is looking at some newspaper clippings spread out on a table and I wanted to list each one to the reader. Does that make more sense in terms of your suggestion to change it from 'spread of clippings'?

    I like your suggested restructuring though. I would like to list a few and wondered if it would be better to just list them, or have action/interaction peppered in between each listing? Any thoughts on this?

    Oh and perhaps a colon before the "FOUR CHARGED..."?
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't know what you mean by 'list each one'... a list wouldn't make sense in fiction, imo...

    better would be to have the character select one, then another in narrative, then insert the text... or to just mention they're 'spread out' and then insert them all as a series of block indents...

    bits of narrative/action can be inserted between them, as called for...

    there's no good reason for using a colon instead of the standard comma...
     
  5. wonderland
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    Here's the block of text. Don't feel obliged to go overboard or anything, just whatever you feel. I took on board your comments. Still not 100% about the colon in the way that I applied it - you think it should go?

    Oliver picked up the first and eyed it with a look of studious concentration that belied his age; an imitation of adulthood. It read: “MYSTERY KILLER LEAVES NO TRACE – POLICE BAFFLED”. He affixed the small clipping to his mirror by tucking it just inside the frame. Next: “MAN FOUND STRANGLED – ATTACKER VANISHES IN THIN AIR”. Oliver took a deep breath, resisting the cruel words. It too went on the mirror. He turned the next one toward the light to read it better: “INVISIBLE MURDERER OR NATURAL CAUSE?”. The next two he held up side-by-side: “NO EVIDENCE OF FOUL PLAY IN GHOST MURDER MYSTERY CASE” and “NATURAL CAUSES GHOST-MURDER FORENSICS CONCLUDE”. He passed his eyes between the two as though weighing them, his brow drawing into a tight knot of focus and then tighter as anger crept in.
    Oliver closed his eyes and took a moment to breathe. The next clipping he raised to his eyes slowly and more gingerly, the fragile paper held between forefinger and thumb: “INVESTIGATION CLOSED ON GHOST MURDER”. Another slow sigh. It solemnly took its place with all the others on the mirror. It had become a small tapestry. Grim memory, captured in black typeface.


    Thanks!
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i just noticed you're in the UK, so since colons and semicolons are more acceptable in fiction there than they are in the US, i guess they'd be ok as you used them...

    what does bother me in reading this is so many all-caps headlines with too little narrative between them to relieve the eye... i'd suggest adding more after each one... such as giving us a clue to what it means to the character... what does each one cause him to think, feel, do, or say aloud?...
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    [MENTION=373]mammamaia[/MENTION] - just thinking, if the intent is to impart the shock value of several headlines, wouldn't you want to avoid interspersing too much text from the stories themselves?
     
  8. wonderland
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    I think they meant character reflection rather than body text.

    Good point about that. It would possibly be nice to separate them each into their own paragraph to make them more readable. But not sure if that 'works'.

    Thanks for the feedback :)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks!... that is what i said/meant...

    i don't know if it'll work, either... can't tell till you try it... try your list idea, too... i could be wrong on that...
     

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