*Writing a fantasy novel, made up countries, etc.

@suspenseful (40312)
Canada
April 3, 2013 10:00am CST
I was wondering if you are writing fiction and you make up cities, countries, words etc. if one continues to use italics all through the novel. I know if I were writing a story about a foreign country and writing it in English, that if the words were not put in as normal English, those words would still be in italics, but what happens if I write a novel and it is based on another world, and supposing the country was called Xerpiea. and the people Xerpieans, would I still have those two definitions in italics throughout the novel, and that would apply to weird creatures and made up names as well. Would like your imput.
12 responses
@dawnald (84199)
• Shingle Springs, California
3 Apr 13
I'm not a writer, but I do read a lot of fantasy fiction, and I don't recall them putting made up place names, peoples and languages in italics like that.
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18613)
• Jamaica
3 Apr 13
Are you sure Dawn? I seem to remember that this was down. I think suspenseful is right but I would have to do some research first.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84199)
• Shingle Springs, California
3 Apr 13
A simple example that I found on Amazon.com, Lord Dunsany's "the Kind of Elfland's Daughter". Elfland and its people, the Erl, were not in italics...
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18613)
• Jamaica
3 Apr 13
Really - this just goes to show you that standards are slipping in all areas. I just don't know what this world is coming to. So you would think then that it is not necessary for Suspenseful to use Italics? Am I getting this right?
1 person likes this
@pals101 (2011)
• Philippines
4 Apr 13
If its a fantasy and make up world, then you can do what you like. It is your book, its how the readers interprets and understand you book.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
8 Apr 13
That sounds reasonable. I will just put the real foreign words in italics. I just want to know what the rules are, or if I could break them.
@pals101 (2011)
• Philippines
11 Apr 13
That's the spirit. Keep it up.. Update us if you have finish the book you are writing.
@ElicBxn (61143)
• United States
6 Apr 13
I would not, since it isn't "foreign".
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
7 Apr 13
That is what I figured. Now I do keep the real Latin and real French words in it, in italics, but the ones that I made up, still the same as the other.
1 person likes this
@lsjapdoit (651)
• Indonesia
4 Apr 13
I like reading fictions. As a reader I would prefer reading non italic words because they are more friendly to my eyes :))
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
4 Apr 13
That is nice to know but I wonder what is the right thing to do. I have to use glasses as I have astignatism. And with that it is the contrast between the text and the background.
@bunnybon7 (46684)
• Holiday, Florida
3 Apr 13
why use italics at all? is that a UK thing? I dont recall my teacher saying anything about having italics with made up names when i wrote stories at the writing school. so i dont think its needed at all.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
4 Apr 13
I think I will use italics for the real Latin, French, Italian, or other real language names and not worry about the made up names. It would be easier. I wonder whether I should add those made up names to my spell checker.
• United States
3 Apr 13
I believe italics are used to convey a character's internal thoughts. Another instance is if you are naming a publication, name of a movie or other such thing.
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
4 Apr 13
I know about that. What I am unsure of is a made up country or a made up language, peoples, etc. With non-fiction it is basic as most grammar books assume that most books are non-fiction, but there is little information about fiction names and places.
@cynthiann (18613)
• Jamaica
3 Apr 13
Just a quick question suspenseful. How exactly would you pronounce Xerpiea? I am having difficulty with pronouncing it. Sorry to be so dense
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
4 Apr 13
I just made up that word right when I was posting. Zer-pee-ya. I did not want to tell the real name for the cities or peoples or organizations on that fantasy place. I used to get spam letters with the name of the made up characters in my other novel that is on hiatus as the email address. At least if they do this one, then I will know those people are thieves.
@cynthiann (18613)
• Jamaica
3 Apr 13
This is a very tricky but interesting question suspenseful. I seem to remember that it was done but am not sure if it is still done now. The fact is that it is still your story so the places in the story are real to yhou so maybe the rule would not apply in this case
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40312)
• Canada
4 Apr 13
It was done centuries ago, but not now. I have not read many fantasy novels for a while, like years ago. And when I go on the grammar books, they are mainly talking about non-fiction writing where there are certain rules and those places exist, but fantasy is a whole lot of problem.
@Pegasus72 (1900)
7 Apr 13
I have been thinking about dabbling into fantasy with a great idea I have but haven't started yet.
@rocketj1 (6960)
• United States
4 Apr 13
I don't believe you would EVER have to use italics.
@koopharper (7127)
• Canada
3 Apr 13
I really don't think you need italics for that. I wouldn't worry about it while writing a book. Something I'd let my publishers editor deal with. Sounds labour intensive to me. If they want it all italicized I could do a find and replace after the fact.
@maximax8 (30579)
• United Kingdom
3 Apr 13
I would not used italics if I was you my friend for the made up countries and their people's nationality. If I wrote a book I would use real country names and city names. There is a book called The Beach and an island in Thailand plus Bangkok are in it. Good luck writing your book.