1. Ananda
    Offline

    Ananda New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Placing email in fiction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ananda, Mar 16, 2012.

    Hi, I'm wondering how to place an email message within a work of fiction, and I have a couple of questions.

    The only information I could find had to do with journal entries, for example the narrator is reading a journal entry or say, a letter from someone. Most sites say to place the text of the journal or letter in block quotes or to use italics, but how would I introduce the text? Would I use a colon or just start a new paragraph?

    I'm also wondering if I should include the email headers (the part that says From: and To: along with Date and Subject).

    I would like to include the headers in order to give the characters name. I couldn't find a way to name the character in the rest of the story and I also wanted to show the email address of another character because it sheds light on her personality.

    I know that we live in a high tech world, and most people are familiar with email, so I thought I could get away with including the full email with headers and not just the text but I find that it doesn't look good in italic. And I don't believe you can use indentations on sites such as this.

    Should I put the body of the email in italic and leave the headers unformatted? Has anyone ever dealt with this?
     
  2. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I'm sure there are many options, and that some people have passionate hatred for the italics :D but as long as these emails aren't the main body of the book (some books were told purely through letters, so I guess that's possible with emails also) but yes, if they are sporadic then I would either use italics or same font only smaller size, to distinguish it from the rest of the text, make it stand out a bit. I'd also include subject, Cc, address etc.
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    don't use italics... it would make no sense, since email doesn't appear that way...

    use the non-serifed font email usually appears in [like this one], include the mail headers, if you feel it necessary, and insert the whole thing as a block indent...

    that's how it's most commonly done and works best for the reader...
     
  4. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    I tend to indent text for emails (or any written text in general) and for the most part write it in the way I would an email to anyone except close friends: a greeting, the message, then sign the name. Titles/dates/to/from aren't necessary as long as an introduction/signature is used. I have seen them used in fiction though so it's not necessarily wrong to include them.


    mammamaia - "non-serifed font" is technically known as "sans serif". :]
     
  5. Ananda
    Offline

    Ananda New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, everyone.

    Using a different (or smaller) font is something I hadn't thought of but makes perfect sense.

    Indent and don't use italics, got it.
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    In manuscript, don't change fonts. The block indent is all you should do.
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    cog is right... i was referring to self-published mss, which i should have made clear... otherwise, any change of font is up to the publisher...

    but don't make the font smaller, either...

    yoshiko...
    yes, i know that [especially as i speak/write french, though not fluently]... but i've found that many new writers do not know it, so i use 'non-serifed' where many i'm addressing may be among the unknowing majority...
     
  8. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Cog, what about when using a word in another language for the first time in the work? I've often seen such words italicized upon the first usage, as in: "The waitress brought over a platter of tostones. Tostones are sliced unripe plaintains, deep fried." I'm running into this issue in my current project. Is it best to leave everything the same and let the publisher (dreaming big) sort it out?
     
  9. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Foreign language, direct thoughts, certain types of proper nouns (like names of ships) are all accepted use of italics.

    With my indents if the agent/publisher has more than one font they consider acceptable (quite a few have several to choose from in the UK) then I may well use a different one for an indent. It has yet to be a reason for a rejection.
     
  10. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Es verdad, foreign words and phrases is one of the legitimate uses of italics. In manuscript, underlining is the standard for indicating italics, although directly inserting italics has become common enough that most publishers probably won't balk.

    Manuscript format has its roots in the days of typewriters, which generally could not render italics. But there are advantages to the publishers to the old standard. Monospaced serif fonts make it easier to spot typos and misspelllings.
    Also, the standard double-spaced manuscript format, with wide margins and printed single-sided, leaves plenty of room for editorial notations and comments.

    I know the above is a bit off topic, but there is so much confusion over what is okay in manuscript vs what you will actually see in published copy, that I thought it necessary. Writers write manuscripts. Publishers make decisions about typesetting and font choices, many of which are completely inappropriate in manuscript.

    If you are self-publishing, there are no real standards. Most readers wouldn't know the difference anyway. On the other hand, there is no one to tell you when you are getting lazy and self-indulgent in your writing, or if your writing has never been up to snuff.

    </lecture>
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Thanks.
     
  12. Dubya
    Offline

    Dubya Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ayrshire, Scotland, UK
    Personally, I would put,
    SENDER - Name or email address,
    RECIPIENT - Name or email address,
    SUBJECT - Whatever,
    Then use block paragraph style for the message, without italics or font changes. Just my opinion.:)
     
  13. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    The email heading, if used, should be within the block quote.
     
  14. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    yes, definitely... since the heading info is all part of the email itself, it would make no sense to not include it as part of the indented block quote...
     
  15. Afion
    Offline

    Afion Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2012
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    I've never read it, but there's a book called Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer, which is written entirely in emails
     
  16. Jetshroom
    Offline

    Jetshroom Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Australia
    I've seen fiction books where the email was a screenshot of an actual email. (Obviously specifically created for this work of fiction.)
     
  17. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Manuscript submissions should not include illustrations or other images, only text.
     
  18. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    that's right... but only for mss you intend to submit to agents and traditional [i.e., 'paying'] publishers...

    if you're self-publishing, of course you can put in anything you want and can afford to pay for [adding artwork will usually cost extra]...
     
  19. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    True. If you're self-publishing, you can include a prologue written by your cat walking across the keyboard. It's your dime. :)
     
  20. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Interesting imagery, Cog.
     
  21. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    actually, in my old writing for money life, my cat did walk across my keyboard fairly frequently... tried to squeeze into my printer, too, to see where the paper was coming from!
     

Share This Page