Q: I used italics in a scene with a flashback, but my critique partner said I should never use italics. Here’s the part I put in italics:
He sat in the cold hospital waiting room, feeling numb. This was just like when Mom died. We did all we could, the doctor had said.
I thought characters’ memories were supposed to be italicized. Now I’m confused. What’s the right way to do this?
A: Confusion is understandable, for a several reasons.
First, you’re not the only one who’s confused. Your critique partner is—I’ll be generous and say “overstating the case.” Whenever someone gives you a never in regards to writing, your inner warning klaxon should go off. Writing is an art, and cannot be governed by rules involving always or never. Continue reading