How do would you write out character whispering in a narrative story, would you use italics, parantheses, maybe dependent on variety of styles?

  • 1
    "What's going on?" Mary whispered. – Hot Licks Mar 20 '17 at 1:02
  • {{{{however you want to}}} – AmE speaker Mar 20 '17 at 2:25

From what I've seen, most authors use italics for two main reasons (though there are a variety of other uses):

1) emphasizing a point in the narration

It's not that he had wanted to kill the man--he had no choice in the matter.

2) distinguishing a character's thoughts from their literal dialog

"Have fun!" I smiled and waved until my parents pulled out of the driveway and were out of sight. Now the fun begins.

I haven't personally seen authors use italics to indicate whispering. You could introduce the dialog regularly and then indicate that it was spoken in a whisper:

"Are they gone?" she whispered, peering through the blinds.

However, there's nothing stopping you from doing the following:

"Are they gone?"

"I think so."

Note how the italics of one speaker's dialog stands in contrast to the regular formatting of the other speaker's dialog. A reader will naturally interpret the first line as softly spoken or whispered.

protected by Community Sep 30 '18 at 5:46

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