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View Full Version : Underline to Italics question


RoseColoredSkies
05-01-2009, 03:52 AM
Ok so this may be a stupid question but what is the proper way to denote italics in a manuscript. I know you're supposed to use underline but is it:

this

or

_this_

I'm in the process of revising my ms and I have a lot of italicized words (all underlined the first way). If I need to change, I will. I just want this to be formatted perfectly.

Thanks!

Bufty
05-01-2009, 04:06 AM
This, but think about it - do you honestly believe an Agent is going to decide to accept or reject a good story based on whether or not italicised words are indicated by underlining?

I leave the italics as italics.

Good luck - and make sure you need all those italics.

Matera the Mad
05-01-2009, 04:08 AM
This if you are using a word processor. _This_ is only for indicating underline in plain text.

If their submission requirements say to underline for italics, you had better underline. Not following directions is a quick sort-out.

RoseColoredSkies
05-01-2009, 04:52 AM
Thanks. I guess I can keep them as is now. And I had heard that proper formatting was the underline italics so I figure better to be safe than sorry. Most (if not all) agents will know what the underline represents.

Thanks for the answer!

Manix
05-01-2009, 04:57 AM
For e-queries and submissions, italics are often screwed up by word processing programs that differ from the ones used by the agency, so that's probably why you heard that about underlining them. I heard it was best to either bold them or use a different font, rather than screw up the formatting and risk an auto-reject. If they can't read the words due to formatting problems they are likely to just move on.

RoseColoredSkies
05-01-2009, 05:03 AM
But would underlining screw up their ability to read the document?

Manix
05-01-2009, 05:15 AM
But would underlining screw up their ability to read the document?

That, I don't know. I've never heard anyone recommend underlining for italics, (not to say they don't...) but I know italics are famous for causing problems.

Cyia
05-01-2009, 05:41 AM
Leave the italics as italics. Save the document as .rtf (rich text). Paste into email. No fears of screwed up text. Not one of the people who read partials or fulls on my MS mentioned the italics, and over half of chapter one is italicized.

dawinsor
05-01-2009, 05:50 AM
I'd just use italics until and unless someone tells you otherwise.

I used to edit a magazine and we told authors to use underlining for italics when we sent the piece to production because italics can be hard for the typesetter to see if they're just on a single word. But until that stage, we didn't care what authors did.

Polenth
05-01-2009, 05:56 AM
That, I don't know. I've never heard anyone recommend underlining for italics, (not to say they don't...) but I know italics are famous for causing problems.

Underlining for italics is standard manuscript format. It isn't due to any word processor issues. This page has a basic overview:

http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

I'm sure an agent wouldn't reject someone for using italics, but they're not going to reject them for underlining either. Personally, I'm so use to underlining, I do it automatically now. So I'm not going to go through and change all the underlines for italics unless an agent specifically requests it in their submission guidelines.

The Lonely One
05-01-2009, 05:59 AM
Underlining for italics is standard manuscript format. It isn't due to any word processor issues. This page has a basic overview:

http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

I'm sure an agent wouldn't reject someone for using italics, but they're not going to reject them for underlining either. Personally, I'm so use to underlining, I do it automatically now. So I'm not going to go through and change all the underlines for italics unless an agent specifically requests it in their submission guidelines.

That's the resource I use for formatting. I think consistency and following guidelines goes a long way, no matter what.

dpaterso
05-01-2009, 01:29 PM
Leave the italics as italics. Save the document as .rtf (rich text). Paste into email. No fears of screwed up text.
You mean attach the RTF file* rather than paste it into an email?

* only if the agent/publisher says they're OK with receiving file attachments.

-Derek