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Capatalyizing words for emphasis.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Queshire, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    So, this was brought up in another one of my threads, but is it alright to capatalize words for emphasis, and if so, where do you draw the line?

    Currently, I'm writing a story that has two worlds, one is our mortal world and the other is the Over World, home of the Gods and stuff, I'm thinking of capatalizing any things or beings that have to do with the Over World, but is that too much by itself?
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Normally I would say to reserve emphasis-capitalizing to very casual writing, but if you have a consistent theme and purpose for it, I'll say maybe. Try it, it's an easy thing to undo later.
  3. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

    I often use it in first drafts as a way of making "normal" words, "special". I listened, becomes I Listened. Admittedly its a bit of a crutch and I don't know if I'll keep it around past the drafting stage. Depends on reception, and how ridiculous it becomes I guess. The thing I do like to use it for is the way Queshire mentioned. For example, the Otherside. It's not a vague concept, its a place, and therefore is capitalised.

    It all depends on personal taste. I for one wouldn't put down a book for excessive capital letter emphasis. You could draw the line at, if the word would incur capitalisation in that place under normal circumstances then you're okay?

    I don't know really. I use this technique, sparingly of course, but I'm not particularly fussed either way :)
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  4. Ghost

    Ghost Inkling

    I'll probably be in the minority for this. I don't mind if it's a proper name, a title, or something similar. It annoys me is when the word is a concept. I'd rather the author use the story to tell me why a concept is important instead relying on the capitalized letters as a crutch. The more capitalized concept words there are or the oftener they're used, the more diluted the impact is. If a concept is something a character does in his daily life, then I don't think he'd even have emphasis for something so ordinary.

    An example of a word like this would be "Talent." I've seen at least three or four times in from different authors to mean a magic user or their power. For me, it's like capitalizing Left-handed or Athlete when pointing it out is emphasis enough. I've also seen Sight for clairvoyants, Naming for magic involving true names, and Dreaming for prophetic or magical dreams. I think some authors do it so readers don't confuse the proper noun with the lowercase version, and then there's a temptation to capitalize everything related to the concept.

    I remember a joke about fantasy authors turning English into German by capitalizing every noun. Sometimes when I'm reading, it feels like the author took it as a challenge.

    And, Queshire, Over World and Gods don't bother me, but there were about 8 or 9 words like that. Even I can get over two or three, but I feel like there's an inverse correlation between how many capitalized concept words there are and how seriously I should take them. It's like overusing italics or exclamation points.

    I think, because you were giving us a rundown, all your specialized concepts were concetrated in one post which gives the impression there are more than there would be in your actual novel.

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