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Phone Conversation (1 Viewer)

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Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
I've been thinking about something that was said in another thread regarding inner monologue and italics

I've been using italics with phone conversations for the person on the other end of the phone as it feels like it'll be easier for the reader and less need for 'he said', 'she said'. I also use italics or inner monologues (without quotes) although they occur infrequently. What are the learned members' thoughts on this?

An example of a phone conversation:
Henderson,’ the voice said at the other end.
‘You promised we wouldn’t be watched.’
You’re not being watched.’
‘Don’t lie. we saw him and it’s the same guy I saw just before you had me killed.’
I can assure you, if you’re being watched, it isn’t anything to do with me.’
‘I don’t believe you.’
You’re being paranoid.’
‘Don’t treat me like an idiot.’
I’m not. We’re not having you watched, we don’t need to.’
‘What do you mean, you don’t need to?’
There was a pause. ‘You’re being tracked.’
There’s a GPS tracker in your blood.’
I was stunned into silence.
You were given a device in your food each time you came back
‘You fucking bitch!’
Calm down, we had to…
I hurled the phone at a nearby wall, screaming as it shattered against the bricks.’
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Staff member
It's not something you're going to see often, but I have no problem with it. I think that eventually, we're going to see innovation in how stories are presented graphically. We've moved well beyond the days of setting type by hand, or even pasting lines across master sheets (80s technology in typesetting, and one which once cost me a missing line in a product, having to be corrected with an errata sheet!).

A few months ago, Taylor and I had a whimsical series of posts with a "what if" each major character got their own font? Sure, done poorly it could look like a mess and be more confusing than helpful, but what about the possibility it could be done stylistically well? With modern desktop publishing and printing techniques, it doesn't present any problem at all in setup and production. You don't even worry about fonts or art at press time anymore, and of course that is irrelevant for the growing dominance of the eBook marketplace.

Like anything, writing and publishing has an onerous body of "Standards" weighing down innovation, not that the Standards are bad, and certainly not all innovation is good. But there is certainly a need to test innovation in presentation to see what works.

*** Just as a "site note", when you copy and paste from most software into some web sites and submit, you get extra line feeds, and you don't see them before you submit. However, you can immediately edit the post to delete them, and when you save that edit, they'll stay gone. Makes your post more readable.

TL Murphy

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
As long as you are consistent, it works. I've seen writers like Cormac McCarthy do dialogue with no he said/she said, no quotations, no italics, nothing. But it works because the context makes it clear. It seems like magic but he gets away with it.

Olly Buckle

I am with the others, clarity and consistency are the watchwords, if they work it works. Having said that there are guidelines for things like magazines, but really that comes under consistency, you can't have every contributor presenting stuff differently or the overall result would be a mess.
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