1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Writing thoughts...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by JJ_Maxx, Jan 11, 2013.

    Here is the sentence:

    I gave Toby a look that said this is a bad idea.

    Is this okay as-is or should it be something like:

    I gave Toby a look that said, 'this is a bad idea.'

    ~ J. J.
     
  2. Scarfe
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    I would run with italics myself. I think grammatically your second line hits the mark, but it takes you out of the thought, italics for me.
     
  3. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    A lot of people on this forum dislike using italics for thought.
     
  4. Scarfe
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    each to their own, I disagree. By way of explanation, I think a thought should flow more easily within a sentence than dialogue.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe the second one is correct. There does seem to be some disagreement regarding italics. I don't know the definitive answer - personally, I don't mind them for thoughts. But I'm no authority.
     
  6. Scarfe
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    It is correct, but sod it. Italics tie a thought to an observation in a manner that quotes cannot. Italics every time.
     
  7. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    The first one doesn't roll quite right - I'm not entirely sure why. The second one feels better but you could always work around it with something like ...

    I fixed Toby with a stare that told him exactly how bad I thought this idea was.

    Not trying to change your writing - just another option.
     
  8. Scarfe
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    Italics
     
  9. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    Ah, but it's italicising (sp) something to emphasize the emotion. Not a full thought. And .... whatever. I use italics for my characters thoughts and it works. There may be a better standard out there and if there is then maybe I'll pick it up as I go along but for now, it works.
     
  10. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I would rather change the writing than rely on italics. We shouldn't need a change in font to convey anything.

    But, there's the question of tense.

    I think my first example should have been:

    I gave Toby a look that said this was a bad idea.

    If I use quotes or italics, then I can shift to present tense, but if the thought is embedded in the marrative, it needs to no quotes or italics. I think that's why Drusy thought it sounded weird.
     
  11. Scarfe
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    haha, I agree, I use italics for interior monologue (what a twatty phrase to use) haha.
     
  12. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    Yep! That was it! Good call.
     
  13. junesummers
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    junesummers New Member

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    Minor issue perhaps, but I'm sure they should be double quotes, as in a dialogue:

    I gave Toby a look that said, "this is a bad idea."
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think you're right on this. And this example is the one I would go with.
     
  15. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    So many opinions, but i think your second (original) one works because it is actually not a definite thought for me, which would be in italics for my tastes. I'd say either quotation marks or leave it as is.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I've addressed it in He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.

    No quotes, no italics. That's the standard. Take it or leave it, I won't bother arguing it again in this thread. It's your manuscript.
     
  17. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    Reading this sentence it sounds perfectly fine to me as is. Your saying exactly what that person was thinking by using body language. Adding quotes or italics just seem to take away from the sentence to me. So I suggest leaving them out and leaving this sentence as it is.
     
  18. Scarfe
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    Cogito: aargh annoyingly arrogant, sorry I said it mate.
     
  19. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    As far as I know, most publishers use The Chicago Manual of Style as a guide. It gives a list of things that italics are used for, and since there's nothing in there about using italics for thoughts, a lot of people assume that it's wrong to use italics. However, I'm not entirely convinced that italics are wrong for thoughts. There seems to be no consensus among editors or agents (from what I've researched) about this issue. If someone could cite an authoritative guide or something similar for fiction, that would be great (there most likely isn't one but might as well ask).
     
  20. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Second one.

    No to Italics. Forget style or rules or any of that other crap. Italics are a bitch to read. That's why. Would you rather read this or 'would you rather read this.'
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    just change 'this' to 'it' and it makes good sense and doesn't need " " or fancy fontery...

    btw, singles [ ' ' ] are only used for a quote within a quote...
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    (in the United States, which is where JJ is)

    Before we venture into the Trackless Sands of Tedium, yes, in the UK, there is a tradition in which the roles of single and double quote are reversed. And yes, the UK appears to be transitioning to the US style, gradually.

    So to the probable thread hijack, I say, "Bye, Jack."
     
  23. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    I would say the second sentence but without the quotation marks like so: I gave Toby the look that said, this is a bad idea.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    w/o " " there should be no comma...
     
  25. madhoca
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    If you are going to change tense for unity, you should change "this" to "that" as well:
    I gave Toby a look that said that was a bad idea.

    or to avoid repetition of "that":
    I gave Toby a look that said it was a bad idea.
    I gave Toby a look which said that was a bad idea.
    I gave Toby a look to say/telling him that was a bad idea.

    or something like:
    That was a bad idea. I gave Toby one of my best don't-do-that-looks.
     

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