I’ve talked about it to many, many writers on an individual basis. Now, it’s time I share it with the world.
Using all-caps in your fiction should be a complete and utter last resort.
When to use all-caps:
- When using an acronym such as ASPCA, or FBI.
- When a character or narrator is screaming and your narrative is not strong enough to convey that volume otherwise.
When not to use all-caps:
- When a character is talking slightly louder than they were before.
- When a character is speaking in staccato or with heavy inflection.
- When you, the writer, want to emphasis something.
- Whenever you feel like it.
- For a chapter heading
- When a character is shouting, but you can tag the dialogue with “she shouted.”
- When a character is shouting, but your amazing writing skills make it so that your reader totally gets that vibe without the use of irritating all-caps.
- For signs or letters or fliers written out in-narrative.
What to use instead:
- For heavy emphasis within the narrative or dialogue use italics.
- For heavy inflection or staccato speech, Use. Them. Periods. (Not super great, but better than some alternatives).
- For chapter headings, use larger font sizes. You can use bold typeface, or nothing.
- Denote excitement or shouting with a single exclamation point and/or descriptive dialogue tags.
- For fliers or signs written out within your novel, you can use italics or small-caps (sample below)
- As a second-to-last resort for screaming or shouting, use small-caps, as well.