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Speech Bubbles in a Manuscript

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Hi -

I'm writing a manuscript that will have lots of speech bubbles in the illustrations. I'm not sure the best way to format it. Should I put the speech bubble text in parentheses and italicize it, or just one or the other? Should I say "Speech bubble:" before each line or just the first time?  Then how will I separate speech bubbles from illustration notes? Parentheses, brackets, italics, bold. It starts to look busy.

Thanks for your help!
Teresa
#1 - December 11, 2017, 02:22 PM

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Teresa,

Are your characters speaking in the speech bubbles, or is someone "off screen" speaking in the speech bubbles, for instance, the narrator? Can you give us an example?

Jody
#2 - December 11, 2017, 05:02 PM
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If you're the illustrator, this doesn't matter. If not format like a script. Like what I have below.

Name: words said
Other name: Words said
Narrator: Words said

 Whether this goes in speech bubbles is up to the illustrator or designer. There are other ways to make it clear who's talking. Use your cover letter to express that this is your vision.
#3 - December 11, 2017, 05:54 PM
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I'm not the illustrator, and the idea is that the speech bubbles are what the characters are saying to each other in the illustration.  Here's an example:

[Illustration note: Aiden is a boy. Mortie is a ghost.]
Aiden wanted to play catch. Mortie couldn’t hold a ball.
(Aiden: “Maybe I can just aim it at your hand.”)
Mortie wanted to play airplane. But Aiden couldn’t fly.
(Mortie: “Can you maybe jump a little higher?”)

Sorry - I couldn't get the italics and bold features to work. I would have the brackets in bold and the parentheses in italics.


#4 - December 12, 2017, 08:39 AM

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Your method should work, Teresa. And you can also specify in the illustration note that conversations are speech bubbles. However, if you are not the artist, it makes it more difficult for you to insist these have to be speech bubbles. That'd be up to the art director. Why not instead write it like normal prose with dialogue tags and the whole bit and the editor and art director can decide how it should be shown? It gives them more flexibility to best depict both physical action and spoken words.

[Illustration note: Aiden is a boy. Mortie is a ghost.]
Aiden wanted to play catch. Mortie couldn’t hold a ball.
“Maybe I can just aim it at your hand," Aiden said.
Mortie wanted to play airplane. But Aiden couldn’t fly.
Can you maybe jump a little higher?” Mortie asked.
#5 - December 12, 2017, 09:47 AM
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Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Thanks for the input!

Teresa
#6 - December 12, 2017, 09:56 AM

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Vijaya speaks truth! I was going to suggest the same thing. Good luck!
#7 - December 12, 2017, 10:04 AM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!, EMERGENCY KITTENS!
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When there is narration as well as dialog, V's response is the best. I've written dialog-only manuscripts in script form.
#8 - December 12, 2017, 08:54 PM
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