Monday, September 13, 2021

Using Text Messages in Fiction

 QUESTION: I need to include multiple lines of text dialogue in my story. My question is about rendering the punctuation of it.

For example, in a rapid fire text exchange with short snappy one word answers, in real life, the writers would be unlikely to use much punctuation including periods. Can I eliminate them in my rendition of it to the page?

ANSWER: As long as what you write is clear to the reader, I see no problem with doing the punctuation or lack of it as you wish. Just be consistent.

One thing to consider is who your reader is. If your book is aimed at younger readers, they will be much more comfortable with nonstandard punctuation than the older reader.

To differentiate the text dialogue from the regular text, I suggest you narrow the margin on both sides of the page by another inch and use names in the same way as in movie and play scripts.  You can also italicize if you wish.  Just be consistent in your choice.

JANET: OMG OMG Dirk asked me to the prom.

MARY:  WTF He asked me, too!

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