Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Here is an article I found interesting enough to share. :) Rita

  How do I handle book titles in my work? Do I underline them? Italicize them? Put them in quotes? This is one of those pesky questions that come up all the time: Should I underline or italicize book titles in my writing? And it comes up for good reason: You can look at several different books, newspapers or magazine articles and see it handled several different ways. So which one is right?
The answer is: Probably all of them.
     How you handle book titles in your work is a style choice not governed by grammarian law. The issue is addressed by the top stylebooks, but the answers vary.
     According to the Chicago Manual of Style and the Modern Language Association, titles of books (and other complete works, such as newspapers and magazines), should be italicized. So if abiding by either of those guides, you’d italicize Stephen King’s The Shining, just as you would Vanity Fair and The Miami Herald.
     On the flip side, the AP Stylebook suggests that you use quotation marks around the names of books (with the exceptions of the Bible and catalogs of reference material, such as dictionaries and almanacs, which should not be styled in any way). So if you’re writing for a publication that adheres to AP guidelines,  reference books with friendly quotation marks: “Eat, Pray, Love,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” and “Bossypants” 
     Some publications also follow their own style guides. 
      So what does this mean for you? It means: Don’t worry about it too much. Just pick one way and stick with it for consistency purposes (for example, if you italicize the name of the book your character is reading on page one of your novel, make sure you italicize it on page 214, too). All publishers have their own style, so if you’re fortunate enough to get the work in question published, an editor will edit your story to fit her style preferences anyway. Your goal is to turn in a professional-looking manuscript, and consistency in your style is one key way to do that.    - From Brian Klems


Emma B. said...

Nice to know. I've always just italizied titles without questioning it.

Maryann Miller said...

It can drive a writer batty trying to figure out how to handle titles in writing. One thing I would point out, in addition to your excellent point about consistency, is to follow the guidelines of the publishing company or publication you are writing for. Most publications follow the CMS rules, and so do many book publishers.

Rita Karnopp said...

Great point, Maryann . . . so very true. And what is so strange is everyone chooses their own preference. Can drive a writer batty!!

Rita Karnopp said...

I know what you mean, Emma. I do that, too. For the longest time I capitalized them . . . thought I was savvy when I changed to italicizing them. giggle :) I guess being consistent is the best thing. I'm italicizing them . . . that's my story and I'm sticking to it! :) Rita

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