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Jay Morgan
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 04:38 pm:   

All right, this is probably a silly question, but here goes:

I'm a novice writer, and I'm currently writing a scene where someone finds a diary with key info necessary to the plot. Should the diary be written in the same format as the rest of the manuscript, or do different rules apply? Not sure if the editor prefers to see a clear distinction between the diary and the rest of the manuscript.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
BF
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 05:33 pm:   

In a manuscript, you don't have to really worry about this so much, so long as it's clear which portions are diary entries and which are normal text.

If the diary section is short, you might want to just block quote that section. If it's longer, you might want to just set off the diary section with a scene break, include the diary section, do another scene break, then return to the narrative.

Don't worry about it overmuch. It's really up to the magazine how it'll be laid out in print, so let them worry about it.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 11:36 am:   

Or italics? (Underline the words in the manuscript.)

Also, another thing...when someone is telling a long long long story verbally, you can just do a scene break & start telling the story and slip in a parenthetical (John or Jane Doe said). This enables you to avoid " marks every paragraph. In The Time Machine H. G. Wells had the Time Traveler (who narrates most of the novel) speak the whole tale with " marks. Apparently the Traveler had a strong bladder.

Then when the speaker's done, maybe a scene break, and someone comments, "That was a long long long story you just told us. Sure wish it had been interesting," or something like that.

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