1. hal10001
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    hal10001 New Member

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    When you write a written message, how do you format it?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by hal10001, Apr 20, 2009.

    Should a message written to a character be written for the reader of the story as italics? How do you typically present this? Do you end it with "it read", or "it said", or something similar?
     
  2. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    I don't think you would need to end it with anything. If you've established that it's a letter then the reader will understand that 'it read' or 'it said' what they just read. Would probably serve to weaken the writing.

    I'm not sure about italics.
     
  3. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I usually just use quotes, just like it's a person talking, but there's a smorgasbord of methods that I've seen. Quotes, italics, novelty fonts... er... different margins (I'm not sure what the proper name for it is; the text of the message fits into a narrower space on the page than the rest of the story). And there's probably a whole other smorgasbord I'm not thinking of. But I think those are the most common ways.

    I'll do something like the following:

    With sweaty palms and a pounding heart, Josh read the note:

    "I'm sorry if this is an inconvenient time for you, but..."


    I don't end it with "It said" or anything like that. I just get it out right away that it's a written message and the let it go from there. It'll be obvious when I return to Josh's perspective.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For a short message, enclose the message in quotes. You could use a tag to introduce it:
    For longer messages, a block quote would be appropriate. A block quote is one or more paragraphs, indented, and without quotation marks around it.
    To whom it may concern:

    By now you have undoubtedly discovered that the ledgers are nothing but bad fiction. I would say I;m sorry, but the fact is, I'm not. By now I'm sipping tall drinks, surrounded by taller, scantily cladc beauties, laughing my ass off at you poor benighted zeroes.

    I could tell you where I am. There's no extradition treaty, but you might still try something stupid like sending some meaty ape to take revenge. Be assured, the funds you have so generously provided pays my own personal security team more than adequately.

    And I still have enough very personal information to take each one of you down on a whim.

    Sayonara,

    Jack​
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    Should a message written to a character be written for the reader of the story as italics?

    ...definitely not...

    How do you typically present this? Do you end it with "it read", or "it said", or something similar?

    ...see cog's examples... that's how...
     

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