Italics – Yay or Nay?

Someone in a Facebook group I’m a part of asked a question recently. She was wondering whether we used italics ‘to empathize a word, or a thought.’  Her comment was met with mixed thoughts especially from all of us, so I want to take a moment to explain how I feel about italics. I’ll briefly touch on the two ways of using italics that came up during our discussion.

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Removing the Clutter

I saw a post on tumblr talking about removing ‘extra’ words from your writing and it sparked this post. I’ve been seeing a lot of these posts on tumblr, by well meaning writers on how to make your writing look professional and clean. Objections to each and every post have boiled up in my mind as I remember when I was a younger writer and I was struggling to merge the lanes of writing advice.  I would like to start by saying: take everything I say and every other writer says by a grain of salt. Whether they are published or not.

What makes a passion or job like writing so difficult is that it is a creative process. There aren’t any rules, there isn’t any scale by which your stories worth can truly be matched. All you have to do is transfer the basic idea and scene of what’s in your mind into another person’s mind. Translation? With decent grammar, spelling, gumption, and imagination you, anyone, can, in theory, be a writer.

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