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Best looking way to write out book titles?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Shreddies, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

    As a fan of fancy book titles I wanted to reference or show several books that exist in-universe, but I'm not entirely sure how to present their titles in a way that doesn't look overly simplistic (or grammatically incorrect).

    So far the narration mentions a book title once when talking about a sheaf of paper:
    –"On the front page in large ornate script was 'Earth in Motion: Golem-Assisted Prostheses for Daily Use' by Aginis & Bernoulli."

    And the second time is when someone is reading a paragraph from a cookbook out loud, saying:
    –"The legs of this variety of karka can, depending on how it is prepared with alchemy, provide boons to physical strength, stamina, or resistance to various toxic substances. Please refer to Crable & Absocker's 'Arcane Arrangements Vol. 3: Enchanting Foods and Delicious Recipes' for more details."

    Do these look awkward? Or do they look fine and I've just been staring at them for too long?
  2. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    If it were me, I'd simply italicize the full titles to set them off from the rest of the prose.

    On the front page in large ornate script was Earth in Motion: Golem-Assisted Prostheses for Daily Use, by Aginis & Bernoulli.
    Shreddies likes this.
  3. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Yes, they are long and awkward! Titles should speak genre and emotion, not a confusing ramble. Sorry.

    If you're aiming to sell this work, then those titles will do you far from good. If it's only for your own thrills, then disregard this.
  4. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

    While I wouldn't recommend titling any actual books with those titles, I think they make fine titles for imaginary works. I'll second T.A.S and suggest italicizing them when referring to them in-story.
    Shreddies likes this.
  5. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    There are 50 or more titles used by Rowling in her Harry Potter books. She's doing quite well, I think.

    One example:
    The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble
  6. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    ^Okay...but JK Rowling is a best-selling millionaire author. Comparing what an unknown author should do with her is unrealistic. My 2 cents.
  7. La Volpe

    La Volpe Sage

    I agree with the italic suggestion. It sets off the title from the text nicely. And for textbook kind of books, those titles look fine to me, especially if you want to give the impression of complex (and/or boring) content.

    I think Shreddies is talking about imaginary works appearing in a novel. I.e. Books that the characters in the novel will refer to. Not a title that will actually be on the cover of the novel. I.e. these titles are not to sell books, but for worldbuilding and/or plot purposes.
    Shreddies and Michael K. Eidson like this.
  8. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

    Thank you, that was the impression I was going for. I wanted them to be the kind of textbook that is published by pompous old scholars and wizards with long grey beards and tobacco stained fingers. People that actually know their stuff in-and-out, but certainly do not know how to pen a book that anyone aside from them and their colleagues would find interesting.
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Also, if you go to a traditional publisher, you will get a list of options that consists of: italics.

    If you are self-publishing, you might as well go along with the industry standard.
    Shreddies likes this.
  10. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Woops, my bad! Clearly I did not understand the OP message. Carry on. *whistles*
  11. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    Best looking? Blonde hair, sexy red lipstick, and giant artificial italics.

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