Thoughts.

Some time ago some one was asking about how to deal with people's thoughts in a story, and I write a lot of thinking in to most of mine!

Verbal intercourse is often marked with " or ' but I have noticed that it seems normal not to use any marker at all on thoughts. However, I use " or ' for thoughts also because I feel they need to be marked with something. But I still make it clear in the text that it is someone's thoughts.

But I have recently been thinking that there should be an actual unique marker for thoughts also. (Using what is on a normal keyboard that is!)

I was considering; Mary wondered, >should I do it?<   or something else rarely used in stories.

If we all did that it could become 'normal'.

 

What are your thoughts on that?

 

I was also wondering about a unique marker for talk via telepathy also.  Mary thought at James, ^should I do it?^ James replied, ^no, not yet.^

 

What do you think about that?

 

 

 

 

Comments

  • HULSEYHULSEY UK

    Myself, I use italics for thoughts. I suppose both methods work, but I've always used italics for thoughts and for dialogue of a newsreader on TV, etc...

  • I do the same with Italics.

    I also did a short story a few months back with a character using a very angry inner monologue. I did all his thoughts in Bold. The effect on the page was pretty nice.
  • One problem is that the ePub converter often strips away italics and what not. There's also the Select All problem to change to another Style, and that can also remove italics and bold and stuff. That can be a pain in the ..... if there's 600 pages!

     

    But you have come up with two methods just in your replies, and I was wondering about a general convention that everyone uses for marking thoughts.

     

    PS: At one time I used italics for all dialogue because it made it easier to spot while editing etc! I stopped doing it because it seems not to be normal practice.

  • Em_PressEm_Press ✭✭

    Kevin,1. highlight one italicized word, select all with similar formatting, right click, save as new quick style and name it Kevin italics. They won't be stripped during ebook conversion.

  • Em_PressEm_Press ✭✭

    People do not like symbols they do not recognize. It will make them feel confused and uninformed. Italics or nothing at all. Just a comma before. I've seen them both.

     

     

  • They grew to like " and ' , who started that off?

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭

    I'm with Em_Press on this one.

     

    He looked at the couple. He wondered if they were happy. Sure, they smile and smile, he thought, but what about when they are alone? Are they happy then?

     

    He wondered if they were happy -- no italics because it is not a direct quotation of his thoughts.

    Sure, they smile and smile -- Italics because it's his actual internal dialog.

     

    In case you're curious, Italics were invented by Aldus Manutius the Younger, a Venetian typesetter, in 1534. He also invented the Semicolon.

     

    (^;


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    I'm with Em_Press on this one.

     

    As I say, I did use to do that, but no other publisher does, but not only that, italics are already used for other purposes.

     

    He looked at the couple. He wondered if they were happy.

     

    A person can wonder aloud and silently to themselves, it needs to be made plain which is which.

     

    Sure, they smile and smile, he thought, but what about when they are alone? Are they happy then?

     

    But italics are already in use for something else, often to highlight a word, the reason not always being obvious, but at times it's made-up words.

     

    He wondered if they were happy -- no italics because it is not a direct quotation of his thoughts.

     

    What is it then? seeing as he is wondering it. One could try this -  the look on is face was possibly a sign that he wondered if they were happy - that's not a direct quotation but an opinion.

     

    Sure, they smile and smile -- Italics because it's his actual internal dialog.

     

    It's not a convention, and italics are already in use for something else, and that does seem to be a convention.

     

    In case you're curious, Italics were invented by Aldus Manutius the Younger, a Venetian typesetter, in 1534.

     

    I wonder what for? (he types in reply).  Smiley Happy Ah! I just looked, it was the first attempt to emulate the written word with a typeface by a publisher and to save space, but it's not the same italics in use to day.

     

    He also invented the Semicolon.

     

    There you are you see. Two new things that readers had to become accustomed to. Did he get it added to lessons in schools perhaps? Not that many people could read or write in those days.

     

    (^;


     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭

    He wondered if they were happy -- no italics because it is not a direct quotation of his thoughts.

     

    What is it then? seeing as he is wondering it. One could try this -  the look on is face was possibly a sign that he wondered if they were happy - that's not a direct quotation but an opinion.

     

    Skoob said: It is the author stating to the reader that the character wondered that thing. Where as...

     

    Sure, they smile and smile -- Italics because it's his actual internal dialog.

     

    is the writer allowing the reader to "hear" the character think it. It is the same as the difference between

    She said that she was hungry,

    and

    "I'm hungry," she said.

     

    It's not a convention, and italics are already in use for something else, and that does seem to be a convention.

     

    Skoob said: It is a convention, whether you acknowledge it or not. Italics are used for quoted thoughts, for foreign words, and for emphasis. Those are the existing conventions.

     

    Yes, every convention was once a radical new idea. But a convention or a radical new idea can be said to "work" if, and only if, the reasonable casual disinterested reader -- that is, a person whom we choose at random off of the street and who is within the first standard deviation for most or all of his mental processes, and who did not contribute to the work in any way -- can read the passage and immediately divine the meaning and the implication, without requiring a key or a guide.

     

    Indubitably, we know of Aldus Manutius the Younger's contributions because they worked -- people immediately understood them and found them preferable to the existing conventions. So unless your radical new trick is going to be more obvious to the casual reader than the existing conventions, it's best to go with the existing conventions.


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    He wondered if they were happy -- no italics because it is not a direct quotation of his thoughts.

     

    What is it then? seeing as he is wondering it. One could try this -  the look on is face was possibly a sign that he wondered if they were happy - that's not a direct quotation but an opinion.

     

    Skoob said: It is the author stating to the reader that the character wondered that thing. Where as...

     

    So that example could be from a story with a narrator then? The author would know if that is a direct quote or not, because he/she is writing it. Should it be left to the reader's imagination if he did actually think that? If writing what people are thinking then there's no reason it cannot be a direct quote. A look in to their mind.

     

    Sure, they smile and smile -- Italics because it's his actual internal dialog.

     

    is the writer allowing the reader to "hear" the character think it. It is the same as the difference between

    She said that she was hungry,

     

    Written that way that could be a thought by a third party, not by the actual thinker. Who thinks of themselves in the second or third party? Unless they 'hear' voices ...  or it could be a 'narrated' story. It is also past tense.

     

    and

    "I'm hungry," she said.

     

    Yes, she is saying that, it says so. There's no comparison at all.   ("One rule that will never go out of style: If the reader cannot reasonably be expected to know what you mean, it's wrong")

     

    It's not a convention, and italics are already in use for something else, and that does seem to be a convention.

     

    Skoob said: It is a convention, whether you acknowledge it or not.

     

    I 'acknowledge' it from the huge amount of fiction books I read, in which the spoken word and thoughts are included.

     

    Italics are used for quoted thoughts,

     

    And they are indeed not ...

     

    for foreign words,

     

    rarely.

     

    and for emphasis.

     

    Of anything, so to also use it for all thoughts has to be confusing has it not?

     

    Those are the existing conventions.

     

    Sorry, most of what you say there is really not true, and I have just looked at 10 random books to check it. Not one used italics for speech or thoughts. They do not use any indication of thoughts at all, which can be confusing in books that stick speech and thoughts in the middle of large paragraphs of other text.

     

    Yes, every convention was once a radical new idea. But a convention or a radical new idea can be said to "work" if, and only if, the reasonable casual disinterested reader -- that is, a person whom we choose at random off of the street and who is within the first standard deviation for most or all of his mental processes, and who did not contribute to the work in any way -- can read the passage and immediately divine the meaning and the implication, without requiring a key or a guide.

     

    Don't be daft. They learn such things in schools when they learn to read and write. How else do you and everyone else over the age of 7 think they know what  "  means?

     

    Indubitably, we know of Aldus Manutius the Younger's contributions because they worked -- people immediately understood them and found them preferable to the existing conventions.

     

    The printing company used italics, as I said, to try to emulate the written word and for no other reason. They printed entire books in it. As long as it could still be read, and it could, it was irrelevant if people knew it was called 'italics'. As to the semicolon it would have had to have been explained, to those who cared. Perhaps at first just those writers that publishing company published. Not that it is an important symbol anyway, it is only used to be 'correct'. The lack of the use of it would not be missed ("oh, this is obviously a list... ")  Smiley Tongue

     

    So unless your radical new trick is going to be more obvious to the casual reader than the existing conventions, it's best to go with the existing conventions.

     

    The only one there is for thoughts is to not mark them out at all. As I said above, I just looked, (would you like me to look at another 10 random books?) and I would not have bothered to mention it at all if it was actually common convention to mark thoughts with italics, or anything at all.

     

    I have seen it used very very rarely, but as you say, to only emphasise some speech in a text for some reason.

     

    One thing to think about. If one uses italics for thoughts, is it that obvious that's why, or do your readers wonder why some is in italics?

     

     


     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭

    A man convinced against his will

    Is of the same opinion still, Thought Skoob to himself.

     

    BTW, unless a story is told in the first person, it is always "narrated." In most cases, it is "narrated" by an omniscient author, who knows the characters' thoughts because he put them there.

     

    But you will have your own views on that.


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    A man convinced against his will

    Is of the same opinion still, Thought Skoob to himself.

     

    BTW, unless a story is told in the first person, it is always "narrated."

     

    Not always, any more than film is.

     

    In most cases, it is "narrated" by an omniscient author, who knows the characters' thoughts because he put them there.

     

    Or could have been told them later, but to be omniscient the writer would have to know everyone's thoughts.

     

    But you will have your own views on that.

     

    Obviously, but they are not only mine, whereas yours could be  Smiley Happy


     

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