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Member # 9151

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When a character is reading an important passage from a book to themselves but not out loud. What is the proper way to format that passage in a contest submitted story? Like WOTF.


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Member # 1818

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I'd go with italics.
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Member # 8019

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Block quotes for more than four lines of cited content is an essay convention. Fiction's use of either cited real-world documents or false documents is also a block quote custom.

Italics format reflects handwritten documents, like letters, though block quote as well, plus possibly paragraph indents.

Visually, a cited block appears as a page within a page sans borders.

A typewritten letter, for example:
	(Narration paragraph text. Transition to introduce cited text setup.)
At last, Markia's much anticipated letter arrived.

Dearest Deice,

Warm regrets I was unable to attend precious baby
Adreolla's christianing. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,
consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor
incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim
ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco
laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate
velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.
Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in
culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Sincerely yours,

Markia Dolce

Lorem ipsum is nonce text.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I agree with extrinsic. If it is long, set it off as block text.

If it's only a short sentence or two, you can just put it inside quote marks.

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Member # 9151

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Is there a blank return before the paragraph starts? And after? Or is the double space return enough?

And proper size indent for the block on both sides?

Thank you for the help. I want to get this right.


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For typescript format, an empty line before and after a block quote. If a wordprocessor document template is set to double-line space, that results in two blank lines.

Tabbed indent standard half inch, once for standard paragraph text, twice for block indent, a third tab if the block indent is paragraph indented. In Word, WordPerfect, and OpenOffice, indent keystrokes are, twice at a block quote block's start, once at the start of the following line -- that block indents the rest of the paragraph up through the next hard return. For a paragraph indent, a third tab is then keyed in at the start of the block. And that procedure for subsequent block paragraphs. No additional line spaces between sequential block paragraphs.

If standard paragraphs intervene, before and after single (double-spaced) empty lines are customary. This is useful for when text walls of block quotes consume a page or pages. A principle of thumb is to format a page of block quotes with at least one standard "anchor" paragraph. The anchor being the full page margin edges, flush left and ragged right margin for typescript format. For publication format, flush right margin as well and for block quotes an additional right-side indent equivalent to the left side, that is usually the same as double standard paragraph indent for both sides, about five capital N glyphs' width or, in typesetter vernacular, five en spaces.

This above too, is a matter of typescript to publication format translation ease. Well-formated pages speak volumes to publisher staff. These matters are often invisible signals to readers, though, signal in the case of block quotes that a content change occurred; that is, from narration to a citation from a real-world or false document.

A false document is a fiction device, a document factual to its fictive milieu though not, per se, the real world.

One benefit of block quotes worth notice is that they obviate use of quote marks to set off cited content. If a cite contains quotes itself, the double-stroke glyphs stand as intended rather than having to go through the tedium of replacing them with single-stroke glyphs and positioning outer double-stroke glyphs. Double-stroke glyph: ", single-stroke glyph: '.

The custom of inline cites is to wrap a cite with double-stroke glyphs and internal cites with single-stroke glyphs: "Newton's famous proverb law, 'For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.'"

Likewise, for inline long citations, each paragraph starts with a double-stroke glyph. If more than one paragraph, no double-stroke glyph at the first or sequential paragraph's ends, one final double-stroke glyph at the termination paragraph's end.

Block quotes obviate all that. The extra indent takes the place of the external double-stroke glyphs and signals this is quoted content. This is especially useful when a third or more nested tier of cites begins to clutter a cite: "Maria read from the Book, 'And Mammack said, "Lo ye of the heathen plain, give to Portado its due taxes or suffer exclusion from our marketplace."'" <<< that last cite stroke cluster, oh my, disturbed reading spell, for sure.

Essays generally conform to the four or more lines custom, use block quotes, inline for briefer cites. For prose, that's discretionary. One word, even a single glyph can be blocked by an extra indent, so long as setup and transition signal artfully what the intent is. For example:

     There in the middle of Tewburnt Lane's narrow trail bed, a roadway signpost:


     Makepeace's Rambler bumper bulldozed down the flimsy command.

About the only difference of substance between print and digital publication is digital publication favors unindented block paragraphs; instead, an empty line between signals a paragraph break. The extra indent for block quote paragraphs stands.

Though this above is possibly a challenge to learn, it soon becomes second nature and near invisible to readers, comprehension and reading ease invisible, though is visually appealing and ample signal for all such intents; that is, that the content is cited, whether real-world content or false document content, and sets off distinguishably from in-the-now-moment dialogue cites -- that last matter probably most important of all.

Not to mention, these methods liberate constrained creativity. An example, say a story contains text message conversations. Setup of and transition into the first conversation invisibly "teaches" readers that's what the function of block quotes is from there and onward, obviating some of the subsequent text conversations' setups and transitions and doubts about quote glyphs, economy of words and elimination of needless repetitions and glyphs -- invisible eliminations yet comprehensible and ease of reading.

[ January 21, 2016, 04:44 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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