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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎01-05-2013
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How to Emphasize Words in Fiction

After I published my first book, I realized that I might have made a format mistake. As I sit here working on editing the second, I’ve been wondering how to emphasize words, because I tend to (or, quite frankly, I do it a little more often than most writers probably do) Italicize words to put emphasis on them. Such examples include the following:


  1. . If anything, they need to be nervous around you.”
  2. “Yeah, I guess. Must just be the timing. It’s just weird; the one time she’s sick is the day after all of that happened…”


In many instances it makes sense, at least in terms of when I do it. (Another example…completely unintentional.) Any thoughts?




Frequent Contributor
Posts: 235
Registered: ‎05-08-2012
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Re: How to Emphasize Words in Fiction

To try to determine if you should emphasize certain words, you can try reading the material outloud without and with emphasis on the words. Emphasis usually takes the place of increased loudness when speaking. The degree of loudness is usually something like this:


1. Underline slightly raised voice..

2. Italics raised voice.

3. Boldface loud voice.

4. ALL CAPS yelling.

5. ALL CAPS and in red, loud yelling.


You can also emphasize by indicating importance, using very meaningful words, etc. "Listen this is important, listen damn you, listen etc."


One can over or under emphasize. Usually emphasis is used repeatedly only for strong emotion. Over use fatigues the reader. Use only as much as warranted.


Hope this helps.


The following book illustrates my use of emphasis. It is my best seller.

JTR-SH cover.jpg