Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ask the Editor: Character Thougts and Dying, Dieing, Dyeing


Every 1st and 3rd Thursday, I'll take your editorial questions. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and more! I will showcase questions and answers (with permission) once I get questions as well. To ask a question, please fill out the form below.

I've been a freelance editor since November 2010. If I don't know the answer, I will find it.  

Terri Talley Venters asks “When the main character is thinking, do you use italics or write “she thought” after. I’ve been using italics if the thought is a few words, or nothing if it’s a paragraph-long thought.” 

That’s a good question. Italics are the best way to go if you are denoting what a character is thinking. Of course, if the piece only has one point of view and often in 1st point of view, it’s sometime not necessary. It’s good not to use “she thought,” though. Those “thought” tags are like dialogue tags, and the less, the better. Of course, if you pick one way to label thoughts, then be consistent.

Christine Rains asks “When do you use “dying” and when do you use “dieing”? Is “dieing” even correct at any time?” 

Dying – Dying has to do with death. It means “in the process of becoming dead.”

Dieing – You can think of dieing when you think of die/dice. It means “to cut, form, or stamp with or as if with a die.”

Dyeing – You can think of dyeing when you think of dyeing hair. Dyeing means “to stain something with color.”

Here is a website that explains the difference as well. 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't use italics for internal thought, but I did use them for mental communications. (My characters are telepathic and I felt that was the best way to signify when they were speaking with their minds.)

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I do use italics. I wish that Alex had used italics when I read his book.

Christine Rains said...

Thanks for answering the question. Since most of my stories are from only one character's POV, I don't use anything specifically for their inner thoughts. I assume the reader will know. I use italics for mental communication, though.

Donna Hole said...



Misha Gericke said...

This is an excellent idea. I'm always writing the wrong thing with Dying/Dyeing and other homophones. :-)

Talli Roland said...

Thank you, Cherie! Great questions - and answers. I think I'm going to like this feature!