I am taking a look yet again at my first novel, Fatal Score (initially called Hack the Yak), which I am preparing to query. I asked an editor to look at the first three chapters. The results were eye-opening.
When I began writing, I used interior monolog (protagonist’s thoughts), which I laid down in italics. The editor would have none of that.
I’ve mentioned before that the Big Duh I’ve learned by writing, now, three novels: there is this thing called technique. The writer needs that ineffable quality known as Voice, to be sure. And Mechanics (grammar, lexical sophistication, punctuation) must be spot-on or any self-respecting agent will trash the ms without reading it. The Big Duh was this thing I call Technique. Frustrating, is technique (in Yoda’s words). Some parts are common sense (when they become obvious), like letting a reader know where she is, who is speaking and what time it is at the beginning of a scene. Some parts seem like a random variable extending over time. Nineteenth-century technique (never mind punctuation) is different than twenty-first century for no apparent reason. Eighteenth century writing embraced long, Latinate words; Hemingway didn’t.
So, I live and continue to learn.
And, yes, I dumped most of the italics.