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A question about italics : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

A question about italics

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
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matiasw
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A question about italics

Postby matiasw » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:48 pm

This has probably been asked about earlier, but I couldn't find any topics regarding the matter. I'm wondering if it's okay to use italic style for both internal monologue and sounds at the same time, like in this example:

A loud creak rang from the wooden door. Here we go again.

Or is it better to just avoid using words like this to depict sounds? :)

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pls
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Re: A question about italics

Postby pls » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:53 pm

Never use italics for occasional internal thoughts - or half your book would be in italics if you were consistent in their use. Just use gothic letters, and if necessary, add "He thought" occasionally.
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matiasw
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Re: A question about italics

Postby matiasw » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:03 pm

I see, thanks!

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onceuponwednesday
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Re: A question about italics

Postby onceuponwednesday » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:26 pm

I've seen italics for thoughts but rarely for sounds.
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DrG2
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Re: A question about italics

Postby DrG2 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:38 pm

It is acceptable to use italics for onomatopoeia that has not yet made it to the dictionary. So, I wouldn't do it for creak, but might for rawr.

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roda havet
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Re: A question about italics

Postby roda havet » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:12 pm

This has been a helpful topic. I have often wondered if using italics is necessary when someone is having a thought.
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matiasw
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Re: A question about italics

Postby matiasw » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:18 pm

I have seen authors that consistently uses italics for thoughts throughout their books. The reason I've always been drawn to doing this is because those internal thoughts are often written in first person and present tense, like this:

One of them were clad in ring mail and black leather. Lucien’s blood ran cold. This is it. I’m dead.

Not having any way of separating it from the rest of the text feels strange to me, and I think it reduces the flow of the text. Is this just plain wrong on my side, or a matter of taste and style? Thanks for clearing up the matter of using italics with onomatopoeia DrG2!

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roda havet
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Re: A question about italics

Postby roda havet » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:22 pm

One of them were clad in ring mail and black leather. Lucien’s blood ran cold. This is it. I’m dead.

I have seen it put that way as well.
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pls
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Re: A question about italics

Postby pls » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:52 pm

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James A. Ritchie
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Re: A question about italics

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:21 am

Using italics for direct internal thoughts is perfectly acceptable, but these thoughts should be important. Extremely important. Otherwise, they shouldn't be direct internal thoughts, but simply part of the narrative. The big mistake is making everything a character thinks direct thought. This just doesn't work, and it fills the books with italics that shouldn't be needed.

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