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Old 25th September 2011, 08:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thoughts & speech In The same Paragraph

Hi everyone,

Problem - How to show a character's thoughts during his speech. The convention I use is to put them in italics. See the red text below. But, is this correct?

“Professor Patrick. . .Professor Patrick Pending!” exclaimed Tarquin, “he’ll be able to read it!”
“Pat Pend. . ?“
“You know, your great friend and historian.” Tarquin looked pleadingly at Jeremiah. “Thin, flash of white hair, rides a-” He stopped in mid sentence. Bicycles didn’t exist in 15th century England!
He coughed loudly and continued, “Rides a horse.“ Jeremiah stood and gawped.
“Great, that’s done then!” said Tarquin loudly, stretching out his hand for the journal.

Or, should I consider rewriting the piece?

TBO
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Old 25th September 2011, 08:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Thoughts & speech In The same Paragraph

Yes, thoughts in italics like you've got is absolutely fine. It's obvious it's a thought.
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Old 25th September 2011, 09:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Thoughts & speech In The same Paragraph

Yes, italics are fine for thoughts, even in the middle of dialogue, though as written I wouldn't have bothered in this case -- it's a kind of narrative thinking which doesn't need italics. But if it is direct thought, requiring italics, I'm worried the tense here is wrong. If they are at present, ie at the time they are talking, in 15th century England, it should be Bicycles don’t exist in 15th century England! because he's thinking it to himself there and then.

Erm... do you mind if I correct a mistake, and point out something else? (Rhetorical question since I'm going to, anyway... )

Professor Patrick Pending!” exclaimed Tarquin.He’ll be able to read it!”
Full stop and capital -- the last thing he said ended with an exclamation mark which closed the sentence as far as his speech was concerned. (The lower case for "exclaimed" is right, of course.)

And the "Jeremiah stood and gawped." line, I think is better off in a paragraph of its own, so as to avoid confusion.

(Sorry. Once a nit-picker, always a nit-picker... )


EDIT: Whoops! Just seen this is in Workshop. Will move it over to GWD.

Last edited by The Judge; 25th September 2011 at 09:27 PM. Reason: too busy writing to notice subforum
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Old 25th September 2011, 09:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Thoughts & speech In The same Paragraph

As said, italics are fine for this; you don't even need to do that, as you can simply add "he thought" or "he thought to himself" or whatever other appropriate phrase. You don't even need to go that far. Moorcock used such indicators as parentheses and italics to show not only that particular character's thoughts, but those of others they were picking up in Mother London. Granted, it's a bit confusing at first, but one quickly realizes what is going on is a form of telepathy (or a rather specific sort of empathic relationship) among a select group of people there; simple thoughts of a single character can also be designated using various techniques which set them off from the flow of their speech. Try different things to see which is most appropriate for the effect you wish to achieve....
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Old 25th September 2011, 09:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Thoughts & speech In The same Paragraph

The Judge, since the character isn't present in "15th century England", wouldn't "didn't"(as in the past) fit the sentence better than "don't"?(which gives the impression that the character has traveled back to the time-period, and remembers that bicycles are absent in this era)
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Old 25th September 2011, 10:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Thoughts & speech In The same Paragraph

Yog -- I know TBO's characters do time-travel, which is why I'm not sure if they are back in 15th century England or not in this scene, though the tone of it certainly suggested they were to me. If they are, then I would prefer "don't" if it's direct thoughts. If they're not, then yes, it's "didn't". Which is why I qualified my first post with "If".
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Old 26th September 2011, 01:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Thoughts & speech In The same Paragraph

Sorry everyone, they are in 15th century England when this conversation takes place.

Judge, fine by me; every little helps!

TBO
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