Tuesday, March 27, 2018

curly double quotes o’plenty

For the longest time, I've been going with straight double quotes around dialogue. This " . Hold down the shift key and bam - quick double quotes around the dialogue I wanted to write. No extended ASCII commands for that bad boy, just a simple direct keyboard key. There is an entire ‘dark’ world of characters that do not appear on keyboard keys. Yes, the murky shadowy space known as the “extended ASCII” set of keyboard commands. Supposedly, one can insert a character simply by typing in the command.

It's true.

The first one I learned (and memorized) years ago now, is the accented e; - é - because one of my character names included that sound. Ready? alt 0 2 3 3 gives you é. Just hold down the alt key while you type the numbers.

That's the only one I have memorized, but there are many other extended ASCII keyboard commands for Latin letters, the ones you'll find yourself using if french or spanish words come up in your authoring.

But I still always just used straight double quotes. The clean simplicity fit with the simple formatting of an ebook. Then, I read a blog that went into ebook formatting. That author wrote that improving the appearance of an ebook, aka raising the production values used in making that ebook, was/is a good thing. That writer persuaded me. One of the first things mentioned was converting straight double quotes to curly double quotes.

And so here I am. I now have more memorized keyboard commands and all my dialogue is different. The simple “ and ” do make a bit of an appearance difference. More class? Classier? I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But for now, I'm running with it.

The article I found that explains it best is here. Full URL = https://practicaltypography.com/straight-and-curly-quotes.html

Cutting to the chase - left side curly double quote, for opening your dialogue, this character - “ - is: alt 0 1 4 7 - hold down your alt key (I use my left thumb) and while holding that down, press 0 1 4 7 over on the numeric keypad (on my laptop keyboard). The closing dialogue, right side curly double quote, this character - ” - is alt 0 1 4 8.

Also there are single curly quotes this - ‘ - and this - ’ -. Left side (opening) single curly quote is alt 0 1 4 5. Right side (closing) single curly quote is alt 0 1 4 6.

I've also now read about the dark art of inserting a glyph (I always think of filigrees) in lieu of an extra space when I want to signal a scene change or a passage of time. Images inserted in an ebook. The horror. But I like the thought. Now I just need to find glyphs (maybe filigrees who knows??) that I can legally use. Guess I am back to evolving. Here I thought crawling out of the water on my fins was enough.

P.S. For those of you that know and love Sigil, like I do - you'll be happy to know that there is an updated version available. I'm at version 7.x I think. The new version is in the 9.x range. Someone took over the project and has updated it. I like my stable trusted workflow, so I have not yet downloaded the update, but it's there........

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