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  1. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How should you format writing of the past?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Komposten, Jan 9, 2013.

    When writing a story it happens that one would like to travel back in time a few days, weeks or even years, to give background information (or something) to the reader. When doing like this, how should the text be formatted (italics, plain, etc.)?

    Here's an example from a story of mine (the italicized part is the one that handles the past, even though it is just a minute or two back):

    As indents work as they do here on the forum, I cannot indent the first line of the dialogue as I would have liked.
     
  2. idle

    idle Active Member

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    No special format is necessary, it should be made clear from the way it is written. I think your example is okay even without italicizing.
     
  3. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I just noticed a faulty newline in the quote, so I fixed that as well as added a sentence about indents. Though I suppose this doesn't really affect your statement, idle?
     
  4. idle

    idle Active Member

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    No, it doesn't.

    Although, if it was a longer flashback, it might actually be useful to separate it by empty lines on both sides and making it a scene on its own. If you were only going back for that one paragraph, there's no need to do anything.
     
  5. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In this case I just went back for a few lines (2 or 3), though I have a larger dialogue as well in the same story which I've placed in a separate chunk of text.

    So, thanks for your time Mr./Ms. idle, :p
     
  6. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If you are formatting for submission for publication, you should never use italics for any reason. Words in a different language, which are italicized in print, should be formatted as underlined as an indication to the editor.
     
  7. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and there is no good reason for you to use italics as you did, anyway...
     

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