Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Writing Down the Bones: Italics

Italics is something used when showing inner thoughts. Something I hope everyone understands. You can also use them to emphasis a particular word. This makes it stand out to the reader. It can be used for proper names like Barbara Donlon Bradley, Dominated by Desire, New York, The Big Bang Theory.

This is something else that can be over used. You need to think about when you should use Italics. So lets say you have your characters thinking out loud to themselves, like dialogue, and want to make it look different from regular dialogue so you put it in italics, then you want to emphasis a word in your manuscript so you use italics again. Now you're showing how well read your character is so you use italics to show the title of a book, song, actor or major monument. Then you go deep into your characters point of view and want to show what your character is thinking differently so use italics again. It sound great but in reality what you 're doing is confuse your reader.

So now I'm going to try to over use italics. In my series, The Vespian Way my main character Heather can talk mentally to her mate, Storm. Will I do a good job of confusing my reader? Gosh I sure hope it works.

Heather is watching her mate snarl and growl at the man who is interested in his daughter. By the way this piece isn't in one of my books. but is the way Storm feels about Skye, I'm just creating this as an example.

Storm, why do you persisted in disliking Skye? Your daughter has chosen him as her mate. Heather stood next to Storm as their daughter talked to Skye for a moment.

The man bothers me. That's all. We know nothing about him.

Heather wanted to laugh. Storm didn't like giving up control, especially to another man. Skye was in Earth security, like she was and they had seen his file, an in depth one too.

It's not your choice, my heart. She hoped to remind Storm their daughter was an adult.

Doesn't stop me from disliking him.

The section above with Heather and Storm is short but can you see how all the italics desensitizes your reader? Did I need to put all those words like another, hope, in depth in italics? Or would you have figured out what was important without the italics because of the way I wrote the sentence?

But what if I want to emphasis something?

Try other tactics, like rewording the sentence so the emphasis comes naturally. It's not as hard as you think. Or you can do like I did in the previous paragraph. Use the one sentence in a paragraph all alone. It drew your eye didn't it? It stood out from the rest of what I have written here. That is what it should have done.

Italics are great and can help you get your point across as long as it is done in moderation. Have you noticed that seems to be a running theme in my writing down the bones series?

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