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WEbook's superstore for talking shop: colons vs. semicolons; dialogue format; point of view.  And everything in between.
Posted: 7/31/2011 1:58 PM PDT
I would say italics are fine as long as you don't have too many words in a row. A few thoughts back and forth are okay, but whole paragraphs in italics can be difficult to read. I have seen published authors do it both ways. It is much easier to distinguish thought from speaking if you italicize the thoughts.
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Posted: 7/12/2011 6:17 PM PDT
I believe it would be fine. I just finished reading a novel in which two characters could communicate telepathically. They're conversations that were in their minds were in italics.
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Posted: 7/1/2011 5:38 PM PDT
I would say from personal experience that italics are difficult if it is an especially long passage. Recently, I started a book that . alternated POVs indicated by one of the characters speaking in italics. I really was enjoying the book, but the italics were so difficult to read that I ended up abandoning the narrative. I never had difficulty with italics when I was younger, but now I do, even with my reading glasses on. I know that won't matter for your audience, but it might matter if you're pitching to a middle-aged agent. I know that if you are sending your manuscript electronically, italics don't always transmit properly. Some electronic submission forms will have you indicate italics with an underscore _before and after the italicized part_.
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Posted: 10/3/2010 4:42 PM PDT
Not that long ago there were ‘standards’ regarding formatting, but the digital age has drastically changed this. If your aim is traditional print publication, my best advice is to visit the website of each publisher you plan to try and read their submission guidelines very carefully. Quite a few now days are requesting electronic submissions, and you can really run into some serious formatting issues with italics on certain email clients - they’ll automatically remove them. Rules have changed as technology has advanced, so it’s always best to do your homework and check out the guidelines of a few potential publishers before you get too far into writing your book a certain way. Back in the day when email submissions could be sent as attachments, of course the biggest worry was that our file could be opened by the publisher. Now there’s the potential threat of viruses and such, so most publishers are requesting the submission be in the body of the email - thus the formatting nightmare - depending on what type of email you have. Hope this helps!
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Posted: 8/27/2010 5:42 AM PDT
I don't have any experience with publishers, etc., but I think using italics is a great way to clear up the events in your story without distracting the reader from what is really being said. You don't have to add words to tell the reader what is being said and what are just thoughts, so that's good. Good luck, hope this helped. SC
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Posted: 7/25/2010 10:40 PM PDT

MattCurties
Me too. And I would certainly do this. As to whether publishers accept this in a submitted manuscript, I wouldn't know, but out of all those I've had rejected - and so far that amounts to a stagering 100% - I don't believe that they were rejected because of formatting in this manner (just thinking not telepathy). If there are any publishers out there reading this, or anyone who's had MSs accepted with this formatting, Let us know.
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Posted: 7/25/2010 6:56 PM PDT

Beruthiel
I've certainly seen published works in which thoughts are represented by italics.
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Posted: 7/25/2010 6:35 AM PDT
I am writing a YA fantasy novel in witch some to the characters have telepathic abilities. Is it acceptable to use Italics when the characters are using this ability instead speaking aloud? Also is it acceptable to do so when submitting the manuscript to agents and the like?
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