Tuesday, January 3, 2012

{squiggly bracket implied meanings}

Happy New Year!

Or...happy New Year!
{Emphasis on the adjective--could be stressing the happy part, perhaps encouraging someone to literally have a good year, or if paired with a question mark it could even be sarcastic: "Happy New Year? What's happy about it?"}

Or...happy New Year!
{Emphasis on the newness--something about it is surprising. "New Year? I thought it was Old Year! How silly of me!"}

Or...happy New Year!
{Emphasis on the noun--the year part is very, very important. Grand. The grandness is the point of the sentence. "Happy New Year! Wow! Year! A new year is like equal to twelve new months! This is huge!"}

As you've probably guessed, the above illustrates the importance of slanty italic stylization. (I can make up words, yes?) The shift of style from one letter to the next conveys an entirely different meaning, as well as a bunch of read-me-between-the-lines meaning as well (I put that stuff in {squiggly brackets}).

I find dialogue is generally a good natural habitat for dialogue. For example, a passage from a story I wrote in eighth grade...

“Yeah, she may be her own boss,” I mutter, “but she sure as heck also thinks she’s ours.”

“See how annoying it is?” Kori says, finally looking up at me.

“I’m your sister,” I try to explain. “I’m supposed to give you constructive criticism.” {Italics here say: I, the speaker, am supposed to. Implied: the "she" referenced before is not supposed to.}

“It’s not constructive criticism, it’s bossy criticism,” she counters. {Italics say: compare these two adjectives. Do it. Right now.}

“Maybe if you weren’t so sensitive….” {Italics say: compare THIS adjective.} I trail off, seeing Kori’s face start to squinch up. I sigh. “Look, can we give it a rest?”

She nods. “I don’t like fighting with you.”

“Hmm…it’s fun sometimes.”

“Karly,” she complains.

“Maybe it wouldn’t be as much fun if your reactions weren’t so predicable,” I advise.

Karly! {Italics say: didn't you hear me the first time??}

I might've overloaded on the italics here, but it's a good way to show hidden meanings. When used appropriately--ehem, sparingly--italics can pack a punch every time they appear.