1. Simon Price

    Simon Price Active Member

    Jul 17, 2017
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    Is there a standard procedure for how you quote telepathy?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Simon Price, Dec 29, 2017.

    Sorry if this doesn’t belong here, but I couldn’t see a better place.

    The story I’m writing will involve some telepathic communication, but the only time I ever saw that done in a book to my knowledge was in the Animorphs books, <where it was written like this>, using <> instead of “”. Is that how you’re supposed to do it, or is it uncommon enough that individual writers just come up with their own way? What would you recommend I use? Also, what word do you recommend I use instead of “said”?
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I don't think I've ever seen the <> version. I think I've most often seen italics.

    In terms of a "said" substitute, I think this will depend on your POV and what the characters involved would call it. If you're writing in a close POV and the characters in the story call telepathy "beaming", then I think you'd say "beamed". Or "sent" or "thought" or "projected" or whatever terms your characters would use.

    If you're in a more distant POV, I guess you could make up your own term?
  3. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

    Jun 3, 2015
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    SC, USA
    You could use some type of brackets, but my personal preference would be italics. I don't think there's any 'proper' way to do it.

    As far as a word for it goes, I'd just use regular tags. The format, regardless of what you use, should make it clear that it's telepathy rather than vocalization.
    Matt E likes this.
  4. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

    Apr 20, 2016
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    I would also go with italics. I use italics for almost any thoughts, I think you could rely on context to differentiate between internal thoughts and sending messages.
  5. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    I would probably choose italics, if the telepathic messages are short—a couple of lines at the most. Wads of italics are difficult to read, so if the messages are long or in any way complicated, I would try something else.

    Of course if you choose italics, this means you really shouldn't use italics for anything else in your story, otherwise things can become quite confused.

    Whatever method you choose —differentiating the messages from the rest of the text with italics, brackets, font changes, or simply narrative explanation—try to be consistent. Whatever you do, be clear. This is a potentially confusing situation, so I'd happily sacrifice elegant prose for clarity.

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