October 26, 2020, 09:47:40 PM

Author Topic: What's your take on italics?  (Read 5594 times)

Offline SugoiMe

Re: What's your take on italics?
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2015, 10:49:13 PM »
Lots of great advice, everyone.  Thank you.  Still not sure exactly what I'll do about it yet, but it seems like the general consensus is to use italics sparingly for emphasis, flashbacks, and whatnot.  Will have to reconsider how I handle the languages and how I go about indicating when they're spoken.  The italics was a good visual way to let readers know that it's another language without having to mention it every time.  But if is bugs a lot of people, that'll cramp my number of readers in the long run.
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Offline madfox11

Re: What's your take on italics?
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2015, 02:35:36 PM »
Lots of great advice, everyone.  Thank you.  Still not sure exactly what I'll do about it yet, but it seems like the general consensus is to use italics sparingly for emphasis, flashbacks, and whatnot.  Will have to reconsider how I handle the languages and how I go about indicating when they're spoken.  The italics was a good visual way to let readers know that it's another language without having to mention it every time.  But if is bugs a lot of people, that'll cramp my number of readers in the long run.

I have read my fair share of short stories in which they also use it for languages, or for telepathic conversation, where the main POV character understands what is said, but at least one of the main characters present does not. If done for one or two sentences it is fine, but if it is done for whole paragraphs, let alone pages, you are better off writing it down.

Offline ClintACK

Re: What's your take on italics?
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2015, 08:47:27 PM »
An alternative I saw a long time ago for truly alien speech was to leave the text in normal font but change the quotation marks.

Example:

"What are you?" she asked.

*I'm a Spyder,* the beast replied.


It looks clunky at first, but it gets transparent as you go on.  Good for maintaining the alienness of your aliens.


Offline JMack

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Re: What's your take on italics?
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2015, 08:50:34 PM »
An alternative I saw a long time ago for truly alien speech was to leave the text in normal font but change the quotation marks.

Example:

"What are you?" she asked.

*I'm a Spyder,* the beast replied.


It looks clunky at first, but it gets transparent as you go on.  Good for maintaining the alienness of your aliens.

I like that!
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Offline Raptori

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Re: What's your take on italics?
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2015, 10:05:51 PM »
An alternative I saw a long time ago for truly alien speech was to leave the text in normal font but change the quotation marks.

Example:

"What are you?" she asked.

*I'm a Spyder,* the beast replied.


It looks clunky at first, but it gets transparent as you go on.  Good for maintaining the alienness of your aliens.
Really interesting approach, we might have to give that a go. Thanks for bringing it up!  :D
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Offline asabo

Re: What's your take on italics?
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2015, 05:14:58 PM »
An alternative I saw a long time ago for truly alien speech was to leave the text in normal font but change the quotation marks.

Example:

"What are you?" she asked.

*I'm a Spyder,* the beast replied.

I saw something similar. In one book they used colons and in another an "about" symbol that isn't on my keyboard. 

I read a book that had entire chapters in italics and it really annoyed me. The chapters were letters to the protagonist. I ended up skimming them because italics hurt my eyes.
Really interesting approach, we might have to give that a go. Thanks for bringing it up!  :D
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Offline RemadeGold

Re: What's your take on italics?
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2015, 05:42:28 PM »
Honestly, I've never had a problem with italics. What *is* a bit jarring (though I got used to it) was the used of <> for telepathic speaking.  So it looked like this:

<I'm going over this way.>
<That's a bad idea.>

Lame dialogue, but beside the point.

Anyway, my personal recommendation is just to stay consistent with whatever you go with. (For me, with a book in which *none* of the characters are speaking English and most are speaking at least two, I just use a dialogue tag to indicate which language is in use when, especially since I don't speak those languages. Language switching in that book generally means the character is deliberately using a language one party speaks and another does not, so they're trying to conceal something.) If you're using it to offset language, you may want to take care using it for interior thoughts and such. I really think as long as the reader knows what you're doing with it, you'll be fine. And, honestly, if  your test-reader isn't thrown by it, I wouldn't worry.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 05:48:25 PM by remadegold »
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