1. jonchoo
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    jonchoo Banned

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    Writing thoughts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jonchoo, Sep 11, 2010.

    When you write a conversation with thoughts between two person, do you write with italic or do you do the original, "..."? Thanks
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Having read the whole thread on writing thoughts floating around here being hotly debated I can only say that they're going to tell you officially to not use italics. But I think it's personal to the story, and if you're gonna mix thoughts and speech like I think you were suggesting it sounds like you need some way of seperating them out so you aren't always putting speech tags on the end of lines. Maybe italics is the way to go for you?

    But if they're holding a full conversation just in thoughts, use quote marks and no italics.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Search for "Free indirect speech" on wikipeda for what I think is a nice take on the subject.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are MANY threads on this topic. Dialogue is dialogue: when you have two or more characters conversing in any medium, render the literal content as quoted dialogue.

    Unspoken literal thoughts are rendered in plain text, neither enclosed in quotes nor italicized.

    See He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue for more details.
     
  5. daisydaisy
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    daisydaisy Member

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    I believe that the correct way to write thoughts is by underlining them, not by using italics. Underlining is changed to italics before the manuscript is published, and is done by the publisher.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You are correct in that underlining indicates italics within a manuscript, but it is not correct that thought should be represented in italics (which is represented by the underline in the manuscript form.)

    I think this question which refuses to die has a more fundamental precursor.

    What is correct for a manuscript?

    Manuscript guidelines are quite rigid, unlike published texts which are quite variable.

    Telepathic communication - which I believe the OP refers to - should be represented no differently than standard dialogue. You simply describe what is going on. With words. Not with italics.
     
  7. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I prefer plain text for thoughts because it compels me to make it clear that a particular word, phrase, sentence is a thought from the context, and I think that makes my writing richer than just relying on visual tricks.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good writers don't have to resort to fancy fontery to let readers know what a character is thinking...
     
  9. white
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    white Banned

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    Also, I think it is really special when prose changes from a third person perspective to internal monologue seamlessly. You know it's good when you have trouble putting a finger on exactly where the change occured.
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lot of modern writing tries to be tricky with the format though and stylistically uses fonts and italics to convey so much. I'veseen a book where every page was like a work of art except it was all done with the layout of the text... Modern writnng can be really aware of how it looks on the page. And it can be good when a writers uses everything they have available to make the story look and feel amazing. Of course you can not tbe taken in by it and feel it's really gimmicky but there wll alway be someone who's sucked in and just says. "this is amazing!"...

    So basically, I guess go all out fi you're going to go nuts with hte showing things by way of font?
     
  11. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm, I'm not sure I would go as far as to say that... I think it depends on the intended audience as well. Most children's books use "fancy fontery" to portray the character's thoughts. When a character is angry, for instance, it's not uncommon for the dialogue to be capitalized.

    For the most part I agree with you. With the above exception, capitalized dialogue would be a turn off.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do not mistake publishing choices for writing choices.

    Layout, font choices, colors, and image placement are publishing decisions, not writing decisions.

    The writer should always assume the writing must stand on its own, without relying on text decorations. Doing so will always result in better writing, and also gives the publisher the maximum flexibility with regard to the production decisions.

    The one possible exception is writing for graphic novels/magazines. The writing in that medium augments the artwork, not the other way around - absent the illustrations, the story is incomplete. Even most childrens books are not so thoroughly visual in focus. In graphic media, the placement and rendering of the text is often more important than the text itself, and serves primarily to convey the content that cannot be supplied adequately by the artwork alone.
     

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