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Busha777
09-03-2018, 11:22 PM
I am in the process of writing a sci-fi novel. The main characters are telepaths, and I am wondering what would be the best way to illustrate direct speech from them. I know I can't simply write: X said,"blah, blah, blah." Since the word 'said' would denote vocal speech. What word would be useful to denote mental speech?

Chase
09-04-2018, 12:07 AM
I have the same problem writing ASL. The word "said" and putting it inside quotes just didn't work for me, so I went with direct and indirect attributives like this:

What? he signed. Say-slow-please.

Her hands stilled, then continued. Sorry. We-need-go-now. Danger-here.

For telepathy, you might do something similar, such as:

What? he thought. Do not image so fast.

Her face showed effort, then tentative word pictures formed. Sorry. We need to go. This place is dangerous.

Standard quotes still work for any communication, but lots of writers like to use italics for non-verbals.

Greene_Hesperide1990
09-04-2018, 05:58 PM
For telepathy, you might do something similar, such as:

What? he thought. Do not image so fast.

Her face showed effort, then tentative word pictures formed. Sorry. We need to go. This place is dangerous.

Standard quotes still work for any communication, but lots of writers like to use italics for non-verbals.

I did the italics. I didn't know you could still use the quotation marks still for telepathic conversations. I guess it just made it look like mental thoughts when writing it.

The Second Moon
09-04-2018, 08:12 PM
I used italics, too, but I used said. I figured he was saying it to the other telepathic person, not thinking it. But I guess everyone does telepathic thoughts differently. There's no rule written in stone, so use whatever you like.

Telepathic people are cool to write about so have fun! :)

Myrealana
09-04-2018, 11:33 PM
I used italics, no quotation marks.

The dialogue tags, when I used them were usually some form of "sent."

rgroberts
09-06-2018, 01:47 AM
I've always been a fan of the italics, too. To me, quotes say that the words are being said aloud, so I'd shy away from those if there's any audible speakers in your novel. That said, if everyone is telepathic...maybe I'd use both. Do you have any "regular" speech in the story?

BurntPieCrust
10-01-2018, 07:36 PM
The only way I've read saying things through thoughts has been with italics. The only exception has been when they are thinking to themselves.

Jason
10-01-2018, 07:46 PM
I believe italics is the norm. My mind instantly went to Terry Brooks and one in his Shannara series - The Elfstones of Shannara, where a tree has telepathic communication with an elf girl, and that was all done in italics.

veinglory
10-01-2018, 11:51 PM
Italics is pretty standard.

DanielSTJ
10-06-2018, 10:24 PM
Italics seems like the way to go! :)

LucidCrux
10-08-2018, 01:39 PM
If you have a lot of it, beware. A significant portion of people hate italics, and a book stuffed full of them in place of non-intrusive punctuation will be a no-go for them. I would likely be one of those people. Italics are much more difficult to read and disrupt my immersion unless used sparingly.

Some other authors have used alternate punctuation for telepathy (as well as normal quote marks). _hello_ :hello: <hello> «hello» That last one is actually normal quote marks in some languages; they're called angle quotes. Also, personally, I have no problem with quotes once telepathy is established. I don't need beat over the head with the fact they are telepathic, I just want to read the story. John sent, "Hello." is clearly not speech, and I'm sure you could come with a couple more verbs.