Showing emphasis, I've come to realize, is a hard thing for some people. How? I don't know. Why? I also don't know. Who dropped them on their heads and took away common sense? Prolly their parents.

This is how you show emphasis, for all of you who got dropped on your heads.
"No!," she cried. "Don't leave!"

The above sentence has several examples of how emphasis can be shown.

1. Italics
2. Exclamation points

You wanna know what is not correct, and makes my eyes bleed every time I see it?

"NO!" she cried. "DON'T LEAVE!"

That, right there, will make me set the book down faster than you can say "I'm a terrible writer who doesn't know how to emphasize correctly." 

You should never—fucking never—use capitalized letters to show emphasis. It is one of the most painful, most unprofessional things I have ever seen in my life and it shows me that you obviously do not know what the hell you're doing on the damn keyboard and that you should probably get off and never come back.

You use italics or exclamation points. Don't use them too close together, don't use them to emphasize stupid things, and don't use them to make yourself look cool. Because it won't. Trust me.

DO use them to: Show when a character is thinking, show a flash-back, show unique terms, show books within the story, and show how smart you are that you know when to use them correctly. 

But please, don't over-show emphasis. That sentence up there is not fully correct. If you're using italics, then I'm sure the audience will get the point and you won't need exclamation points. 

4/3/2013 03:10:36 pm

I have mixed feelings on italics. One of my teachers has said to never use them, that it shows your greater skill as an author without it. Another told me to use them sparingly, and one said to never use them. I always get a different response from each teacher, so I've come down to the conclusion that it's a matter of preference and style.

Ah, sorry for ranting a bit.

Avery Duncan
4/4/2013 03:03:29 am

You can use them as little or as less as you want. What I'm saying is that it's not /ever/ appropriate to use capitalized letters in their stead, and if you use them, don't make them so cluttered.

If you want to use them, fine. If you don't, that's also fine. But don't plan on showing correct emphasis when you don't use them. And bolding doesn't count for emphasis, either.

New writers have a hard time realizing this and it makes me so mad that they get tinto a habit where they want to use THIS KIND OF FREAKING emphasis. Just, no.


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