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TwoTrees
12-26-2014, 06:56 PM
At the risk of sounding stupid, I need guidance on the proper way to handle the following sentance. I've used italics to indicate the MC's thoughts - is there a better way? How should this be punctuated?

Against the pale light of a new day, he could see the silhouettes of his returning men. He counted reflexively as they entered the cave. Four…five… But where were the others?

Also, what is this community's preferred way to indicate a quote from one's text? I bolded because I wasn't sure what other method to use.

BethS
12-26-2014, 07:32 PM
At the risk of sounding stupid, I need guidance on the proper way to handle the following sentance. I've used italics to indicate the MC's thoughts - is there a better way? How should this be punctuated?

Against the pale light of a new day, he could see the silhouettes of his returning men. He counted reflexively as they entered the cave. Four…five… But where were the others?

Also, what is this community's preferred way to indicate a quote from one's text? I bolded because I wasn't sure what other method to use.

Actually, in that particular example, as written, you don't need the italics. All of that folds seamlessly into the narrative. Particularly the last sentence, as it's in past tense like the rest.

Reserve italics for short commentary, rendered in present tense. Using your example--

Against the pale light of a new day, he could see the silhouettes of his returning men. He counted reflexively as they entered the cave. Four…five…

Where the hell are the others?

That definitively renders the final sentence as his direct thought.

Chase
12-26-2014, 07:35 PM
At the risk of sounding stupid, I need guidance on the proper way to handle the following sentance. I've used italics to indicate the MC's thoughts - is there a better way? How should this be punctuated?

Against the pale light of a new day, he could see the silhouettes of his returning men. He counted reflexively as they entered the cave. Four…five… But where were the others?

Also, what is this community's preferred way to indicate a quote from one's text? I bolded because I wasn't sure what other method to use.

I think you did well on both scores, TwoTrees. The concept of italics for thoughts is well established, even though it's not the only method. Your readers will quickly catch on to your style. In your example, I would recommend minor changes. For one, no capital B after your second ellipses:

Against the pale light of a new day, he counted the silhouettes of his returning men as they entered the cave. Four . . . five . . . but where are the others?

guttersquid
12-26-2014, 10:42 PM
I've used italics to indicate the MC's thoughts

Against the pale light of a new day, he could see the silhouettes of his returning men. He counted reflexively as they entered the cave. Four…five… But where were the others?

Italicized thoughts are always written in first person/present tense, so italicizing "But where were the others?" would be incorrect. Think of it as dialogue, for that's what thoughts are: inner dialogue. The MC would not have said, "But where were the others?" He would have said, "Where are the others?"

The solution BethS gave is a perfect way to solve this.


Also, what is this community's preferred way to indicate a quote from one's text? I bolded because I wasn't sure what other method to use.

We often just use a blank line (as you did) between our comments and our quotes. Bolding can get complicated if there are words within the quote that will also be bolded.

Bufty
12-26-2014, 11:03 PM
Clarity is the objective.

If in Third person POV and it's obviously a thought by the POV character it's not necessary to use italics.

TwoTrees
12-26-2014, 11:10 PM
This was wonderfully helpful, folks. Thanks for your assistance!

Jamesaritchie
12-26-2014, 11:42 PM
Italicized thoughts are always written in first person/present tense, so italicizing "But where were the others?" would be incorrect. Think of it as dialogue, for that's what thoughts are: inner dialogue. The MC would not have said, "But where were the others?" He would have said, "Where are the others?"



That just isn't so. Thoughts can be in any tense, not just first person, present tense. Even in a first person, past tense story, the narrator is telling it all long after it actually happened, and is allowed to convey his toughts in the same past tense.

"But where were the others" is not only allowed, it's the correct tense to use in most past tense situations. The character doesn't usually think in present tense when the thinking happened in the past.

Thought is not dialogue, and shouldn't be treated as such. Thought can be direct, it can be an exact quote, or it can be indirect, and even paraphrased by the narrator.

Jamesaritchie
12-26-2014, 11:45 PM
Against the pale light of a new day, he could see the silhouettes of his returning men. He counted reflexively as they entered the cave. Four…five… But where were the others?

.

There's certainly nothing at all wrong with doing this, and I've seen it many times. My own, highly pesonal, rule, is to hold off on teh italics until I have a really important thought to convey, but many writers do just as you've done here, and it's perfectly fine. And the tense is also correct, assuming you're telling this story in past tense.

guttersquid
12-27-2014, 12:45 AM
TwoTrees, here are two links you will find helpful.

http://www.novel-writing-help.com/character-thoughts.html

http://theeditorsblog.net/2012/02/28/inner-dialogue-writing-character-thoughts/

Ken
12-27-2014, 05:15 PM
Maybe something like this:

Against the pale light of a new day, he could see the silhouettes of his returning men. He counted reflexively as they entered the cave. "... four, five;" but where were the others?

Probably how I'd do it. Not to say that'd be right or that I'd care one way or the other.