1. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    Style Chat logs

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ZYX, May 7, 2015.

    So, one of my ( at the moment ) four cast groups talks online a lot since they may or may not wind up living nearby one another, and there's another character who only talks to them online because she's really far away.

    The thing is, this is a novel, and I haven't seen a lot of novels where the characters are talking online. How do I handle this ? Do I do the whole log at once or interrupt it with narration ? Do I include timestamps or the whole "X messaged Y" "Y added Z to the group" thing or no ? Is there an issue with abbreviations and emoticons ( in the vein of 0_O and tumut and XP and stuff, not emojis ) ?

    I'm not sure what my plan is for publication, for now I'm trying not to worry about it but I am curious how it will affect my chances. The genre is science fiction and it's either YA or adult, if that helps ... I can elaborate if I missed some important detail here, I do that a lot while summarizing ...

    Mostly just looking for opinions on how this would read and how others would handle it. Thanks !
     
  2. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Upon reading this it got me thinking of a book my mother read a while ago. I've now got my hands on it and it did contain a few chat-based conversations. The book is Geim by Anders de la Motte. He's formatted the chat logs as they would look in the chat program, with every line indented to differ it from the narration. Here's an example from the book (in Swedish, because I'm too lazy to translate it, but you should get the gist of it. ;)):

    The chat continues like for the rest of the page. The language used is a mix between chat language ("long time no C :)") and proper language ("Hur kan jag stå till tjänst?"), just as in real life. The smileys are even shown as graphical smileys/emoticons in the book (e.g. o_0 instead of o_O).

    ETA: As for time stamps, I'd only include them if it's important to the plot. Otherwise it's unnecessary information and should be omitted.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  3. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    The formatting is actually clearer in Swedish since I don't know what it's saying ! ( Swedish looks so pretty written, ah ! ) I was worried it would look kind of unprofessional ( that may be the wrong word ) but that looks fine. Thank you so much !!
     
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  4. Lance Schukies
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    Lance Schukies Active Member

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    I use chat logs in my first book, and Skype calls if I want dialog, in both I will interrupt with the narrator.
     
  5. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    The book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline uses chat logs frequently. They were always awkward since, in most cases, the MC was chatting with a girl he had a crush on. He did a fantastic job causing me to cringe every time.

    It's been awhile, but I believe he formatted it as a chatroom (AIM, IRC, etc) usually formats them. Something like:

    VirtuallyRealistic (1:34 p.m.): Hey! How are you?
    TheOtherGuy (1:35 p.m.): I'm good, hbu?

    If I recall correctly, he used acronyms, but only very recognizable one's like LOL.
     
  6. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    This is an excerpt from my work with the chat:


    “Hi,” Eyeseverywhere wrote.

    My body suddenly reacted to this newcomer’s greeting, not knowing what to expect.

    “Hello,” I wrote back, listening to my heart attempting to pound its way out of my chest.

    “Two things before we start this discussion. First, I want you to click on the link you’ll receive shortly.”


    If I leave it the way it is (or just change the dialogue to italic), will it work? I checked the other link posted above and saw that the samples had chat etiquette like time stamp and screen name. I kinda want to write the chat but also as a dialogue between the two characters.

    thanks for you guys input by the way.
     

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