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  1. #1
    Mechelle Fogelsong-Wood

    Italics or underline?

    Somewhere online, I\'ve read that editors prefer underlines instead of Italics. Can anyone confirm this?

    I write YA novels, and when characters are introspective, I like to use Italics. In YA fiction, introspection is extremely important.

    I\'m just wondering if agents are passing on my partials because I\'ve got too much underlining.

    Any ideas/advice would be helpful.

  2. #2
    Kate B.

    Re: Italics or underline?

    I'm not published yet but I write YA and I put all my introspection in italics. FWIW

  3. #3
    A.L. Sirois

    Re: Italics or underline?

    Proper manuscript format dictates the use of <u>underlining</u> to show emphasis. For workshopping italics would be fine, I suppose. But even when I am in a workshop I underline that stuff. Force of habit. I get into disputes with people about this all the time, but I'm right, so it's really a non-issue for me... :-)

  4. #4
    Mark Phillips

    Re: Italics or underline?

    When submitting Editors prefer underlines because it's easier to see in manuscript format. When the book is published they would convert it back to italics.

    However, if you have large stretches of italics then I'm not sure how I would handle it. A large section of underlined text might not look that appealing.

    If it were me, I would probably leave it in italics and just let it roll.

  5. #5
    Gravity Fades

    Re: Italics or underline?

    Yep. In the world of publishing, the golden rule is this: "good writing trumps all."

  6. #6
    Ce Ce

    Re: Italics or underline?

    Are we talking about a line or two of thought, or paragraphs of introspection?

    Not sure about YA, since it's not my genre, but the only time I ever italicize (and I use italics, not underlining, and have never heard a peep of complaint from any publisher) is for a clear, distinct thought from a character. The majority of internal monologue is simply handled as narrative.

    Example: She wondered where he was headed in such a hurry, but hardly got the chance to ask him. It stung more than a little, being virtually ignored.

    Like that. Only better, of course. ;-)

  7. #7
    Grandmaster Sik

    Re: Italics or underline?

    Italics - underlining is for headings or web-page links.

  8. #8
    Keith .

    Re: Italics or underline?

    What Ce Ce said, even when writing in 1st. I italicize and do so sparingly. But like others said, if it's good they'll love it either way. If it sucks, formatting won't save it.

  9. #9
    Grandmaster Sik

    Re: Italics or underline?

    Oh, underling is also - and primarily - used when editing/making notes.

  10. #10
    Mya Bell

    Re: Italics or underline?

    For fiction:

    On paper manuscripts, you might as well use underlines since it's traditional (s typewriters couldn't do italics in ye olden days) and it's clear.

    However, if you submit the final copy in electronic form (by FTP or on a CD) use italics so the typesetters don't have to go through and change them (they sometimes make mistakes).

    For nonfiction:

    The rules for nonfiction are sometimes a different. Memoirs and other narrative texts can be treated like fiction, with the italics converted to underline. However, some nonfiction books, like references, incorporate both italics and underlining to serve different functions and obviously changing them all to underline defeats the purpose. If both are used, then put a note with the manuscript that underlines and italics mean different things and thus should not be converted.

    --- Mya Bell

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