47 votes

Using font to highlight a god's speech in dialogue

Visually distinguishing a character's dialogue is not a bad idea. Sir Terry Pratchett used this tool quite a lot. Most notably, his Death spoke in ALL CAPS, including small caps when needed. (Small ...
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40 votes
Accepted

Do 'text walls' scare off readers?

Harry Potter is not a wall of text. It uses line breaks, paragraphs, headings and chapters. That’s the opposite of a "wall of text", which simply means "a lot of text without formatting, line breaks, ...
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  • 548
25 votes

The Good, the Bad, and the Semicolon

I myself have been criticised on at least one occasion for using too many semicolons in my writing. I hadn't noticed at the time, but I really was overusing them. It's one of the quirks of my writing ...
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  • 9,421
24 votes
Accepted

How do you insert lyrics into a novel?

I remember seeing lines separated with slashes in several books, although those were all non-fictional. This results in: "Cruella De Vil / Cruella De Vil / If she doesn't scare you / No evil ...
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  • 663
23 votes

How do you mix dialogue with actions of a character?

Blender's right, it's messy. But, by writing it as you suggest, you really get a feel for the moment. I really like it! But if you do it like this: "I-"-she hit the bag-"-really"-hit-"-don't"-hit-"...
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  • 9,883
21 votes

Is italicizing parts of dialogue for emphasis ever appropriate?

It's not that it's always a bad thing - and to directly answer your question it can be appropriate to use it. Where it's bad is when it is over-used, specifically when the writer relies on it to place ...
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  • 6,597
20 votes

Are there any established rules for splitting books into parts, chapters, sections etc?

It sounds like the divisions emerged organically and intrinsically from the story – that's how it should be. Don't worry that some are long and some are short. That's not a flaw. Forcing the story ...
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  • 24.3k
20 votes

How do you insert lyrics into a novel?

Check out Tolkiens "Lord of the Rings." There are poems, and I think lyrics there. Some even in Sindarin (I think, to be honest, I skimmed past most of it). It was done in italics (some ...
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  • 4,923
19 votes

Should I start a new paragraph after a dialogue if the action is being taken by a new person?

I would say it is definitely a new paragraph if only to indicate 'he' didn't say 'I thought ...'. I teach that you start a new paragraph when you change speaker, place, time or character. Here the ...
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  • 7,493
16 votes
Accepted

What is generally the accepted format style for telepathic communication in the midst of verbal communication?

Italic text is the most common format for telepathic communications. Savil spotted the soldiers filing into the pass and called up to her nephew. Get into position. They're here, she sent. And ...
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16 votes
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How to plan the font size in a fiction?

Assuming you aren't self-publishing, all concerns about the font-size and typography belong to the final publisher (unless you're playing fancy games with fonts, which is rare, and probably not a good ...
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15 votes
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How to convey newlines in tweeted poetry, if at all?

In general, to convey poetic line breaks in "continuous text", replace the line break with a slash. "I've never seen a purple cow./I never hope to see one./But I can tell you anyhow,/I'd rather see ...
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  • 25.2k
15 votes

The Good, the Bad, and the Semicolon

As with every element of style, it depends on context. In modern American fiction, semicolons are avoided; but trends do change, and old-fashioned modes of expression that were once considered effete ...
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15 votes

What is the name of the technique where quotation marks are not closed but reopened to indicate a break in speech

This is called the multi-paragraph quotation rule; see here: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/96608/why-does-the-multi-paragraph-quotation-rule-exist Also read the top accepted answer ...
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  • 92.1k
14 votes

The Good, the Bad, and the Semicolon

I agree that flat-out banishment of any tool (adverbs, semicolons, etc.) is almost certainly wrong. Though many editors and agents will shake their heads if you use more than one or two semicolons in ...
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14 votes
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How should I present a resort brochure in my general fiction?

Typically, in a prose novel, you would describe the brochure, not reproduce it. After patiently listening to my story, she pulled out a resort brochure titled Transformation Intensive Programme, and ...
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13 votes
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Having a character quote an entire stanza of a poem

Format it the same way, with blockquote indents, and if you can add a little dialogue before and after, you don't have to worry about weird quote mark placement. Bilbo stood and cleared his throat. "...
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13 votes

Do 'text walls' scare off readers?

The key word is unformatted. Harry Potter is a set of novels which have paragraphs, reported speech broken out into lines and so on - the normal readability aids. I also note that the Harry Potter ...
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  • 580
13 votes

Everything I write ends up being a rhyming poem, or lyrics maybe

So you want to write the story of your life, but are more comfortable with verse than with prose? Why not think of it as a strength rather than a weakness? You're expressing your life in verse, right? ...
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13 votes
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Correct punctuation for showing a character's confusion

Behold! The Mighty Ellipses! The demon...she? he?...gestured towards the supply wagons. Ultimately, it's a matter of personal style. Dashes, parentheses, ellipses are all correct. Part of the ...
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13 votes
Accepted

How would you write the dialogues of two characters talking in a chat room?

Write it as it is. When you write dialogue, you don't write it up as formal English (or another language). You write what the characters say. If someone squeals or rolls their eyes or starts ...
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13 votes

Using font to highlight a god's speech in dialogue

Besides Death in the books of Sir Terence David John Pratchett, OBE (10 Doctors and a Professor omitted), there are lots of precedents for special font or alignment for various usages. ##The Bible In ...
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  • 1,048
13 votes
Accepted

Format when repeating one word from another character's dialogue

In dialogue, either screenplay or novel, you wouldn't distinguish that at all. It is quite common for respondents to repeat a word or phrase from a speaker. Jack said, "I'm going to San ...
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  • 92.1k
12 votes

Are paragraph spaces used for emphasis?

Offsetting a single sentence as it's own paragraph is one way to emphasize that sentence or idea, and yes, you will see this done in the books you read. It is a more common device in some genres and ...
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  • 23.5k

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