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Using Speech Bubbles in a PB Manuscript

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I have a pb manuscript about pirates. There is dialog between the captain and his captive, and I want the crew to be commenting to each other in the background. I'd like to show it with illustration notes that say, for example, (Art note: Speech bubbles: "She be a good one." "Aye, aye, matey!")

First, do you think speech bubbles will go over well? Second, is this the way to include them in a manuscript?
#1 - March 26, 2015, 04:53 PM

Based on your description, yes, I'd include them in an illustrator note. Because they're not the primary dialogue. And yes, I've seen speech bubbles used in pb's before. I think it's fine.

Sounds fun! :)
#2 - March 26, 2015, 05:34 PM
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Do you mean that you want to INDICATE a speech bubble in brackets as an illustration note, or you want to put an ACTUAL speech bubble in the ms.? I think it might depend if you're submitting a paper ms. or an electronic one. Mine always go out as attachments, so I try to avoid design elements that might go screwy on a different computer.

When I have dialogue that is intended to go in the art, I just do it however it seems clearest. With GINGERBREAD FOR LIBERTY! I just used quotation marks:

When the baker appeared, General Washington did not say he was old and fat. General Washington was too polite. Anyway, he had other troubles on his mind.
“The men are threatening to leave!”
                  “They say the food is terrible!”
      “And there isn’t enough of it, either!”


And in MESMERIZED I used italics:

Dr. Mesmer’s force was NOT like electricity, a gas, or the hot air in a balloon, they told the king.
Non?
                     Au contraire!


(The formatting isn't quite right here, but you get the idea.)

#3 - March 26, 2015, 05:59 PM
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I like how Mara sets her quotes apart in italics. You might find this thread helpful, as well:

https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=75734.0

Della
#4 - March 26, 2015, 06:33 PM
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As an editor, I'd be happy with either quotation marks, and clearly set off in their own paragraph, or in brackets if you wanted to associate them with a particular place in the text...
#5 - March 26, 2015, 06:36 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

I forgot to say that if you decide to put them in illustrator notes, use brackets instead of parentheses.
#6 - March 27, 2015, 05:06 AM
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, GRIMELDA series,
CITY SHAPES, DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS, ONE SNOWY DAY, PIZZA PIG, and more...
http://www.dianamurray.com

I've read over the years that you indicate italics by underlining, never actually use italics. Is that no longer true?

#7 - March 27, 2015, 06:30 AM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

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Underlining is a convention that goes back to the era of typewriters, when you didn't have a second set of keys to use for italics! But you could backspace and underline.

Nowadays, manuscripts are delivered electronically, and basic formatting like bold face and italics will carry over, so it's OK to use them.
#8 - March 27, 2015, 05:45 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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Thank you all for the advice. My critique group was split in their opinions of speech bubbles in pb illustrations. I think they're fun, others thought them distracting. I also wasn't sure how to indicate them in the manuscript. You've been helpful!
#9 - March 27, 2015, 05:53 PM

Harold,

Interesting.

I believe you, but there are current forums and books that tell us italics are not always readily recognized by the eye in e-subs, so underline! (And also something about how it can get missed when formatted for print???)

It's been recent in regard to non-PBs. I can't see where there'd be a difference between PB and other genres, though????

Perhaps this is a case of old-hat getting regurgitated.

It'd be nice to have a more thorough publishing standard, published as others are (MLA, for example.). Writing and subbing are hard enough.

#10 - March 27, 2015, 07:43 PM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

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Arona, I'm speaking from the perspective of a publisher dealing with an electronically submitted manuscript--e-submissions are a different issue, and I'll fall back on my usual mantra: follow the guidelines. What does the agent or publisher say in their guidelines? If they don't specify, then it's not an issue.
#11 - March 28, 2015, 05:31 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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In my book Nugget & Fang, there are times when various minnows make comments. This is a small chunk from the manuscript:

   
   “The stuff on that poster isn’t true,” said Nugget. “My best friend is a shark!”

   “Have you lost your gills?” [Comments are from other minnows.]

   “Sharks and minnows can’t be friends!”

    “HELLO—SHARKS EAT MINNOWS!”

    Nugget was shocked. (And apparently delicious.)
#12 - March 29, 2015, 09:46 AM
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Hi Teresa,

My first book was a pirate book with LOTS of speech bubbles (Pi-Rat!)http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pi-Rat-Maxine-Lee/dp/1848573677

The speech bubbles were well liked and a good pull for reluctant readers as they have more of a 'comic book' feel.

I illustrated it too so I made up a dummy to show this stuff, I just wanted to offer encouragement and say don't be put off using them (if you take a look at my portfolio, there are full spreads in there that show the speech bubbles in use). Illustrator notes for something like this should be no problem at all. When I have had to make illustration notes, I've done it like this with no problems:

"That's mine, give it back!"

[Illustration: Boy grabbing wig]
#13 - April 04, 2015, 03:23 AM
Big Whoop! (Pow! Books) July 2014
Sorry, Dad! (Caterpillar Books) May 2014
Pi-Rat! (Caterpillar Books) Aug 2013

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I had the same question and Melissa Stewart directed me to a link that shows how she went through her whole process in "No Monkeys, No Chocolate."  If you click on the link and then scroll over to November 2008 and click on "Read the Manuscript" you can see how she did it. 

http://www.melissa-stewart.com/timeline/10yr_timeline.html

I love the idea of speech bubbles.  I think art notes could work as well.
#14 - April 15, 2015, 07:17 AM

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