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Old 09-12-2012, 02:38 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by PennLady View Post
Speaking for myself, those single quotes in your sample would throw me. My first thought would be that a double quote was missing somewhere. I can't say I've never seen your method used, but I can say that I am far more familiar with italics or lack thereof for thoughts.

Like sr, I prefer italics for thoughts, but if that's not the standard then I wouldn't send it to a publisher that way. I have used it on Lit but I've tried to get away from it.

As many here have pointed out, consistency is the key. I always handle these matters in exactly the same way every time, and so my readers are familiar with what I'm doing. One of the advantages of self-pubbing is that you don't have to give a shit what some publisher, or editor, or the people in Chicago think - you can just do it the way that works best for you to create the greatest clarity in your writing.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:49 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by BONNIEBREA View Post
As many here have pointed out, consistency is the key. I always handle these matters in exactly the same way every time, and so my readers are familiar with what I'm doing. One of the advantages of self-pubbing is that you don't have to give a shit what some publisher, or editor, or the people in Chicago think - you can just do it the way that works best for you to create the greatest clarity in your writing.
Yes, I think you'd best stick with self-publishing. Then you can continue to think that it's all about you.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:21 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by BONNIEBREA View Post
As many here have pointed out, consistency is the key. I always handle these matters in exactly the same way every time, and so my readers are familiar with what I'm doing. One of the advantages of self-pubbing is that you don't have to give a shit what some publisher, or editor, or the people in Chicago think - you can just do it the way that works best for you to create the greatest clarity in your writing.
How can that even make sense? People read more than one author. That means they see stories that follow the CMS and publishing guidelines. You don't think any of those readers are smart enough to notice that your way is different?
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:33 AM   #29
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Yes, I think you'd best stick with self-publishing. Then you can continue to think that it's all about you.
Well, it is all about me (at least when it comes to the stories I write).

I've had some contact with various editors and publishers. I have no idea where they're hiding the capable ones, but I came away from the experience immensely unimpressed with their professional skills and discernment, or even their ability to engage in a meaningful way with the writing in front of them. But I had occasion to experience great relief that I didn't sign away the publication rights to any of my stories and put them in the hand of any of those clowns. Yes, self-pubbing is definitely for me, and I'm glad the opportunities to do so have become so well developed these days.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:40 AM   #30
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I'm quite sure that they were delighted when you took your self-absorbed attitude somewhere else too. A win-win for everyone.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:47 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by MistressLynn View Post
How can that even make sense? People read more than one author. That means they see stories that follow the CMS and publishing guidelines. You don't think any of those readers are smart enough to notice that your way is different?
I hope readers of my stories do notice my way is different. While people who frequent an editors' or authors' hangout at a literature site may get all twisted inside out about what the Chicago Manual says, the average reader of a story has no idea what a Chicago Manual is.

I'm old enough to have gotten past slavishly trying to discern what the 'right' or 'official' way is to do things. Frankly, the 'right' and 'official' way to do something usually is the best way to do a thing. But not always. And when I run into those circumstances where the convention is not the best choice, then I have no problem at all with coming up with a better way to do a thing, and then doing it that way.

Good heavens, how would any of e.e. cummings's poems have made it into print if he'd not been able to find an editor and publisher that looked at their job as more than just punching a clock and twisting bolts ('twisting bolts' in this case is a metaphor for doing things repetitively and unoriginally - like slaving over a hot copy of the Chicago Manual all day). The same could be said of J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, and a legion of other writers.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:54 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by BONNIEBREA View Post
I hope readers of my stories do notice my way is different. While people who frequent an editors' or authors' hangout at a literature site may get all twisted inside out about what the Chicago Manual says, the average reader of a story has no idea what a Chicago Manual is.

I'm old enough to have gotten past slavishly trying to discern what the 'right' or 'official' way is to do things. Frankly, the 'right' and 'official' way to do something usually is the best way to do a thing. But not always. And when I run into those circumstances where the convention is not the best choice, then I have no problem at all with coming up with a better way to do a thing, and then doing it that way.

Good heavens, how would any of e.e. cummings's poems have made it into print if he'd not been able to find an editor and publisher that looked at their job as more than just punching a clock and twisting bolts ('twisting bolts' in this case is a metaphor for doing things repetitively and unoriginally - like slaving over a hot copy of the Chicago Manual all day). The same could be said of J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, and a legion of other writers.
I'll second SR here. Stick with self-publishing. Then you can continue to think it's all about you.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:10 AM   #33
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I'll second SR here. Stick with self-publishing. Then you can continue to think it's all about you.
Gee, ML. I know SR has his graduate degree in the art of the putdown (although usually they aren't terribly artful, just self-aggrandizing), but I think it's really unbecoming on you. Have I personally attacked either you or SR in this exchange? Are you two really that terribly threatened by original thinking or lack of conformity?

But I've been thinking about this. Can you imagine the dialogue?

Editor: "So, hey, yeah, listen I've been lookin' at these poems ya sent over, Ed - may I call you Ed, or do you go by Estlin? - and, hey I think we got a big problem here. Didn't ya ever learn there's stuff you gotta capitalize? I mean, jeez, I got my Chicago Manual right here, and there's all kinds a stuff in these poems thats gotta get capitalized....."

And why not take the scenario one absurdist step further.

Cummings: "Gosh, Mr. Editor, I'm really glad you pointed that out to me! I'm going out right now to get a Chicago Manual. And then I promise I'll get these poems corrected so they'll be 'right'. If I do that, and grovel some more, will you publish my work? Please, please, please, please?"

Anyway, I hope you're not going to turn into another board bully like SR.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:56 AM   #34
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Bonnie, if I was to read one of your stories, I'm sure I could figure out your dialogue and thought distinctions, but they would initially surprise me and take me a bit out of the story, and I'd probably notice it every time I came across it in the story. This is not to say you don't write well, just that yes, this would be different enough from the accepted style that I'd notice, and unless something like that is the point, you don't want the reader to notice that.

I don't think your example of cummings is right. He wrote at a time, it seems to me, that industries were more open to things like that. Just as people complain that movies today can't get made without a pre-existing audience, the same may hold true for books. My second argument would be that you can't compare poetry and prose like that. They're different forms of art, of expression.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:09 PM   #35
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Interesting, BonnieB. I only commented to you at all on this thread because of who/what you, in your self-important arrogance, were putting down.

The questions do sort of linger in the air--What's the justification of all your self-proclaimed expertise (to the point of advising others how they best can write) and what country are you the queen of?
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:00 PM   #36
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Bonnie, if I was to read one of your stories, I'm sure I could figure out your dialogue and thought distinctions, but they would initially surprise me and take me a bit out of the story, and I'd probably notice it every time I came across it in the story. This is not to say you don't write well, just that yes, this would be different enough from the accepted style that I'd notice, and unless something like that is the point, you don't want the reader to notice that.

I don't think your example of cummings is right. He wrote at a time, it seems to me, that industries were more open to things like that. Just as people complain that movies today can't get made without a pre-existing audience, the same may hold true for books. My second argument would be that you can't compare poetry and prose like that. They're different forms of art, of expression.
I appreciate your comments (and always have - you're one of the people here that always engages in a civil way. You really are a gem, and always a pleasure to interact with). But the reason you'd notice is because you are a writer and involved in and knowledgable of the mechanics of writing. I think the average reader (in addition to having no clue what a Chicago Manual is) is entirely flexible and adaptable and, as long as the method is easy to follow and consistent, has no problem with original ways to handle the mechanics. At least I've never had any complaints in that regard from people who read my stories.

Your comment about the period Cummings wrote is interesting. I'd be inclined to view the matter differently. Not that the industry/art milieu a hundred years was any less or more flexible and accepting than that of today - just that the two periods don't really differ. At any rate, it seems to me that every era resists change - it's really a constant of human interaction.

I agree that movie studios today take a much more deliberate, project management, approach to producing films. At the time a film is green-lighted pretty much everything is set and little of it changes - director, acting talent, rough length, desired rating, scope of distribution, marketing and promotion plan, etc. But that industry has always had that bent to it. Even in the '20s no more Steamboat Willie cartoons would have been made if people hadn't streamed into theaters to see them.

I wasn't really comparing poetry to prose - just observing that the resistance to change and the docile and unquestioning acceptance of mechanical conventions are intense in both. But this is found in pretty much any artistic endeavor. Starting with his 2d Symphony (circa 1900) Jean Sibelius took a very radically original path in terms of symphonic organization and form. Resistance immediately followed. You can't just chuck sonata-allegro first movements in favor of something new and original without getting the convention nazi riled.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:43 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by BONNIEBREA View Post
I appreciate your comments (and always have - you're one of the people here that always engages in a civil way. You really are a gem, and always a pleasure to interact with). But the reason you'd notice is because you are a writer and involved in and knowledgable of the mechanics of writing. I think the average reader (in addition to having no clue what a Chicago Manual is) is entirely flexible and adaptable and, as long as the method is easy to follow and consistent, has no problem with original ways to handle the mechanics. At least I've never had any complaints in that regard from people who read my stories.
Thanks for the kind words, Bonnie, and likewise.

However, I disagree -- I'm not all that familiar with the CMS. I know some bits and pieces from what my former publisher said and what I read here.

I would notice the differences in your use of quotes because I'm a reader and have read lots of different books from all kinds of genres over my life. And no matter the genre or the author, there have been general standards. The way you do it is not one I've seen (that I can remember). It would grab me the same way a misspelling might, or a missing punctuation mark, where I'd kind of blink and check again over what I just read.

Would I adjust and keep going? Sure. I don't think I've yet to let anything like that stop me, but I notice it every time.

Like I said, I don't agree with everything the CMS says, probably especially on this point. I miss italics to indicate thought. That slanted text was a visual clue (cue?) that gave me something more of the story. I knew even without reading the words that I would be reading a thought, something internal to the character.

It's also handy in those were stories I've written, where the characters communicate telepathically.

I will say that if they have to change, I prefer nothing to the single quotes around thoughts. Single quotes have their own uses and connotations and seeing them used for thoughts would bug me.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:53 PM   #38
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Interesting, BonnieB. I only commented to you at all on this thread because of who/what you, in your self-important arrogance, were putting down.

The questions do sort of linger in the air--What's the justification of all your self-proclaimed expertise (to the point of advising others how they best can write) and what country are you the queen of?
I can't imagine what you could judge to be self-important or arrogant (although I understand mostly you just want to take advantage of the opportunity to put down another board resident).

The OP asked about how to mechanically handle the expression of a character's internal thoughts/speech. I responded with a note on how I handle that issue in my writing, in what ways my method is different, and my rationale for adopting that different procedure. That's self-important or arrogant?

Maybe you don't like my observations about editors and publishers (or the degree to which they are professionally obtuse). Sorry (not really). I can only make observations related to my experiences.

About the justification of my 'self-proclaimed expertise' (I love how you worked the adjective 'self-proclaimed' in there - another little dig at another board resident with hardly any effort at all!). Do you mean other than the quality of my writing? (I'm willing to recommend a few stories you could read - and I don't think the effort on your part would be wasted at all, as I'm sure you'll find lots of things to bring back here to use as put-downs). But other than that, I have a college background in writing, both academically as a student and in a teaching role.

I'm sure you're an entirely fine writer and editor - perhaps every bit as good in those endveavors as I am. I don't actually know that, but what the hell. Anyway, that's not praise I give out lightly or often. So, you're welcome.

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Old 09-12-2012, 06:57 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by BONNIEBREA View Post
I think the average reader (in addition to having no clue what a Chicago Manual is) is entirely flexible and adaptable and, as long as the method is easy to follow and consistent, has no problem with original ways to handle the mechanics. At least I've never had any complaints in that regard from people who read my stories.
Same here. My philosophy on these things is "learn the standard, and follow it unless you have a good reason to make an exception". My 'good reason', like Bonnie's, is that the way I use internal dialogue would make the standard more distracting to readers than non-standard italics.

Out of curiosity - SR (or anybody else), was there a specific reason why CSM went with quotes and not italics?

(I do remember reading one very successful book that didn't use quotes at all for speech, just line breaks - THAT was pointless and very annoying).
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:37 PM   #40
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I can't imagine what you could judge to be self-important or arrogant (although I understand mostly you just want to take advantage of the opportunity to put down another board resident).

The OP asked about how to mechanically handle the expression of a character's internal thoughts/speech. I responded with a note on how I handle that issue in my writing, in what ways my method is different, and my rationale for adopting that different procedure. That's self-important or arrogant?

Maybe you don't like my observations about editors and publishers (or the degree to which they are professionally obtuse). Sorry (not really). I can only make observations related to my experiences.

About the justification of my 'self-proclaimed expertise' (I love how you worked the adjective 'self-proclaimed' in there - another little dig at another board resident with hardly any effort at all!). Do you mean other than the quality of my writing? (I'm willing to recommend a few stories you could read - and I don't think the effort on your part would be wasted at all, as I'm sure you'll find lots of things to bring back here to use as put-downs). But other than that, I have a college background in writing, both academically as a student and in a teaching role.

I'm sure you're an entirely fine writer and editor - perhaps every bit as good in those endveavors as I am. I don't actually know that, but what the hell. Anyway, that's not praise I give out lightly or often. So, you're welcome.
You conveniently just ignored several of your posts. This thread went off the rails with your snotty #17 post.

But that's OK.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:47 PM   #41
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Out of curiosity - SR (or anybody else), was there a specific reason why CSM went with quotes and not italics?
Beats me. And they didn't make the change yesterday--they made it in their 2003 edition. As I've noted a couple of times, I think italics are the clearest. The trend appears to be away from using italics for anything that can be avoided, though. (Which may be the reason. If so, I think it's going overboard.)

But the standardization is there for my convenience as a writer and editor (so I don't have to invent my own version of the wheel all the time--and so I shouldn't have to argue with a lot of pigheaded "it's all about me" writers) and for the understanding of the reader. It's not all about me, so I don't make it all about me. (And, yes, I think that folks who insist on doing so are insuferable jackasses. It tells me a lot about them and what working with them would be like--and it usually is a chore if I can't avoid working with such people.)

The CMS is actually pretty loose--the guidance isn't often stringent. In fact, sometimes it frustrates me by avoiding making a ruling on some knotty issue or ther other that I'd have to flip a coin on to decide. And in this case, it gives more than one option.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:25 AM   #42
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You conveniently just ignored several of your posts. This thread went off the rails with your snotty #17 post.

But that's OK.
Now there's a gracious apology.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:38 AM   #43
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Now there's a gracious apology.
What apology? Again, it's great that you are self-publishing, because you are every publishing professional's worst nightmare. And at least this way, the only harm you can do is to yourself.

(I see you didn't respond to the location of where this thread went off the rails--your snotty #17 post.)
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:51 AM   #44
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Same here. My philosophy on these things is "learn the standard, and follow it unless you have a good reason to make an exception". My 'good reason', like Bonnie's, is that the way I use internal dialogue would make the standard more distracting to readers than non-standard italics.

Out of curiosity - SR (or anybody else), was there a specific reason why CSM went with quotes and not italics?

(I do remember reading one very successful book that didn't use quotes at all for speech, just line breaks - THAT was pointless and very annoying).
There's often not much rhyme or reason to a lot of things in English: word usages and definitions, grammar and punctuation rules. Often these standards have just evolved without necessarily any guiding thought behind them, and then somebody writes them down. And often in the space of a decade or two the rule evolves into something else. That's one reason I don't get too terribly concerned about it all. I sometimes have occasion to use a style manual and check what it has to say on a subject. They're handy, and usually the standard or rule involved makes entirely good sense and I then have something to guide me. Occasionally, what the manual says makes little sense, or there's a better way to do it, so I prefer to take the other path. My feeling is that I can out-think a mindless herd's rudderless, meanderingly evolved standards when necessary.

This principle sometimes extends to word choice or usage. In one story I had occasion to refer to music that was not consoling in nature. The negative adjective form of 'to console' is 'nonconsoling'. But I thought 'unconsoling' just sounded better and fit the mood of the passage much better, so I used it. I know there are a lot of people just too anal to make that leap (and that's entirely fine), but I'm entirely confortable with it, and sometimes the invented or coined or juryrigged word is what a portion of writing or a scene requires.

There was another instance when I used the phrase 'On a sudden, and entirely unexpected breeze' both as a chapter title and in the prose. Most 'experts' will tell you that it's a terribly windy (pun intended) expression: two adjectives to modify 'breeze' and for good measure an adverb to modify one of the adjectives. Terrible. But I liked the sound and cadence of the phrase, and it was the right choice to use it. It's really a matter of knowing what's right for your own story, and having the confidence in your abilities to bend or break rules on occasion in a good cause. And if some editor wants to come along and tell me using an overly-complex phrase like that is always and invariably wrong, then I've just identified one editor who is too dense and unperceptive for me to want him or her anywhere near my writing.

All the above I only apply to my own writing. When I've taught grammar or writing I stay right on the conventions, as I think that doing otherwise would be a disservice to students.

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Old 09-13-2012, 02:14 AM   #45
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All the above I only apply to my own writing. When I've taught grammar or writing I stay right on the conventions, as I think that doing otherwise would be a disservice to students.
Which is the crux of the issue with this thread. Doing it your way is one thing, and that's fine and harms no one else. But when someone asks a "what's the best thing to do?" question such as was done here, and you answer with your way (and no mention of convention's way), when it flies in the face of the recognized conventions, you are violating your own statement above that I have quote from your last post. That's the whole crux of the matter on this thread. That's what you did on this thread (actually you did worse--you were dismissive of convention and of those who follow the convention). The difference between what you choose to do yourself and the advice you give to someone else on what to do. You are inviting them down the path of your nonconventional personal preference.

Four and a half hours after I provided the conventional wisdom on this question (post #14), citing authoritative source (for the U.S. market), you weighed in with your nonconventional personal preference (post #15) adding a dismissal of convention. This exactly violates what you put in what is quoted above--and is what ticked me off. And then you followed it up with the snotty post #17.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:40 AM   #46
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Which is the crux of the issue with this thread. Doing it your way is one thing, and that's fine and harms no one else. But when someone asks a "what's the best thing to do?" question such as was done here, and you answer with your way (and no mention of convention's way), when it flies in the face of the recognized conventions, you are violating your own statement above that I have quote from your last post. That's the whole crux of the matter on this thread. That's what you did on this thread (actually you did worse--you were dismissive of convention and of those who follow the convention). The difference between what you choose to do yourself and the advice you give to someone else on what to do. You are inviting them down the path of your nonconventional personal preference.

Four and a half hours after I provided the conventional wisdom on this question (post #14), citing authoritative source (for the U.S. market), you weighed in with your nonconventional personal preference (post #15) adding a dismissal of convention. This exactly violates what you put in what is quoted above--and is what ticked me off. And then you followed it up with the snotty post #17.
Jeez, you sure get ticked off easily. Do you spend most of your time ticked off about one thing or another?

No, the objection you raise has no validity. The OP is not someone who is paying money to sit in a college classroom. The OP is another writer asking a question about the art and science of writing. I treat and engage with the OP respectfully as another writer/artist and make the suggestion that while there are conventions that can be found in style guides there is also much to be said for spreading his/her artistic wings a little and doing things in an original way, as long as that original way has validity and some benefit from his/her perspective (and provide an example of an original method and the rationale behind it).

I could make the suggestion to you that you treat those on these boards with a little (lot) more respect. I remember a while ago, maybe a year or so back, you were on this editor board with the message that you're the only individual in the known universe who can edit. And every time a poster would try to interject a 'well, I have this experience and this training' you were at them with how all that was meaningless and only you know how to edit.

This part comes to you with as much good grace as I can muster, and with a positive and helpful intent.

You seem to have this complex about how you've just got to be the expert here, and biggest swingin' dick on the board. Well, I think you'll spend a lot less time being ticked off once you make peace with idea that there are other people who have every bit as much (and perhaps more) expertise than you in these writing, English grammar and usage, and editing matters. I'm one of those people. And I'm sure there is no shortage of people here just as able and knowledgable and talented as me or you.

So get over yourself. You ain't the conductor; you're just another voice in the chorus. Talk about an 'all about me' attitude.

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Old 09-13-2012, 03:52 AM   #47
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The lack of respect came from you initially, in post #17--and continued right on with ugly--and ignorant--characterizations of the folks in publishing. So, nertz to you on that. Again, it's a good thing you are self-publishing, because you are a publishing professional's worst nightmare. Nothing worse than a half-baked "it's all about me" writer.

And interesting that you failed to address my last post--based on your own quote of what you would do, but didn't. And the "they don't matter because they aren't paying" argument is a pile of crap.
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:19 AM   #48
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The lack of respect came from you initially, in post #17--and continued right on with ugly--and ignorant--characterizations of the folks in publishing. So, nertz to you on that. Again, it's a good thing you are self-publishing, because you are a publishing professional's worst nightmare. Nothing worse than a half-baked "it's all about me" writer.

And interesting that you failed to address my last post--based on your own quote of what you would do, but didn't. And the "they don't matter because they aren't paying" argument is a pile of crap.
Well. The growth of any humility is not in evidence.

And you're still on that 'I'm the only expert' thing. I hate to repeat myself, but hey, what's a computer keyboard for in the middle of the night?

I'm sure you're an entirely knowledgable and able and talented writer and editor. And I, and a whole lot of other people, are just as knowledgable and talented and able as you. You've got nothing on me - or many others here - in writing and related abilities and talents.

It would be appropriate here for me to apologize for letting some of the air out of your bloated ego, but I know nothing I - or anyone else - can say is going to accomplish that task.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:31 AM   #49
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That's not agreeing with me. My point is that where there are "most used" publishing standards, use them. They have been established so that how you render these things should not intrude on the flow of the reader's read, and if you follow "most used" standards, they won't.

Rendering thoughts just like dialogue (roman/inside double quotes) is, in fact, one of the rendering choices sanctioned by the "most used" style authority in the U.S. publishing system for the humanities--the Chicago Manual of Style (13.41). So, I'm not saying not to render them the same way (and thus, once again Elfin just doesn't get what my advice is). (I don't like it personally, so I tend to use the other sanctioned method--roman/no quote marks. What I really like the best is italics, but that's not sanctioned, so I'm not arrogant enough to use it just because I'd prefer doing so.)

Running on your own personal rules isn't just arrogant; it also means you think that this publishing business is all about you and the reader can just go hang. Standardized publishing style is established for the convenience of the writer and the understanding of the reader.
I hate thoughts rendered as dialogue. Surely it isn't neccessary and the CMS is not yet the Qu'aran.

Writers who feel the need to 'dialoguise' thoughts are often not following the story thread and often confusing the issue of first person narrative.
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:54 PM   #50
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I hate thoughts rendered as dialogue. Surely it isn't neccessary and the CMS is not yet the Qu'aran.

Writers who feel the need to 'dialoguise' thoughts are often not following the story thread and often confusing the issue of first person narrative.
Setting thoughts up as dialogue is my least favorite way too (and the most confusing, I think). I don't use that option. That leaves me with straight roman, no quotes, and using a slug or otherwise making it clear in context that they are thoughts.

And, yes, Elfin, for U.S. publishing (and most British publishers too) in the humanities, the CMS is the Bible. Neither you nor I get a vote on that and you just keep saying it isn't shows your ignorance and is so much spitting in the wind. You're not a major publisher. That said, all publishers also have a list of "we're going to do it this other way" in their style guides. In the style lists of the mainstream publishers I do work for, I haven't seen a quibble with this particular issue. They are more likely to quibble with CMS's number guidelines (going with APA on this instead).

On this issue, the CMS gives more than one option--but neither one is the one I would prefer. But since it's not all about me but is about following a standard that regularizes the read for the reader--inside of which there's a whole lot of room for the author to assert individuality--I'll just follow the standards.

And, certainly, when someone asks for "best use" help here, I'll point to what the industry prefers as "best use" if it has a preference (it doesn't always have a preference) rather than try to sell them my own brand of snake oil.
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