1. hal10001
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    hal10001 New Member

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    Formatting a chat session in a short story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by hal10001, Apr 11, 2009.

    I have a short story that includes a chat session dialogue between two characters, and I am wondering if there is a particular way in which these are formatted according to some accepted guidelines? Write now I'm just starting with a single tab, the user ID followed by a colon, and then the text. Each user's reply is on a new line. However, in a real chat session everything is justified left -- should I add this block indentation, or just do a single tab before each user's reply like I am now? Thanks!
     
  2. Zayleus
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    Zayleus New Member

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    Oh, wow. This one's got me stumped. I personally haven't done that chat thing in my writing, so I don't honestly know.

    However, if you go to the teen section at the book store, you'll find that a lot of the books these days have chat. Might help to have a look?
     
  3. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    I think you should have it in italics, or at least distinguish it with a font that resembles its nature. Indenting it sounds like a good idea. As long as the chat excerpt isnt too long and is completely relevant, there should be no problem.
     
  4. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    i will agree with HTP,

    italic would separate the chat from the other text, you could indent it also, but it should be in its only para to stand it out for the difference it has and meaning in the story to be there.
     
  5. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    Certain people on this forum will pounce if you suggest using italics for anything other than emphasis. :p

    I would probably use a little carrot mark followed by the person's chat name and a colon. Like:

    >tomatopeel: You there man?
    >link58472: yeah. whats up?

    I've seen it done that way only once before, but that was also the only time I've ever seen a chat room in a novel. And I don't think using quotation marks would be appropriate, since nobody's actually speaking. That's the best I've got.
     
  6. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    to me those > just don't seem to belong in a story, but that's just me

    italics, well, so what if they pounce, it is an individual preference, if they can't see by that, well then they are reading for grammar, not for the story.

    i don't like the '><' used, but if a story has them, i won't let them interfer with what's being said.

    still everyone has their own style.

    make the one you chose, yours, its what makes you an individual. always always always, keep a piece of 'you' in your pieces. always.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Block quoting would be the preferred method A block quote is an indented block of quoted text. The indentation alone indicates the quoted nature, so you do not need quotation marks to enclose the contents.

    Jack21 > Hey, ne1 online?
    Sally4th > Morning Jack, I don't often see you this early.
    Jack21 > Yeah, culdnt sleep. howsit going​
     
  8. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    Lmao, transcript is full of lol. But then again, I never really took the chat rooms I visited seriously. I like the way you characterise them seperately even for something like this.
     
  9. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    ah, now with the names in front, it does look better, and more like chat.
     
  10. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I'd agree with cogito's example...it seems to look the best and flow the best.

    I've also seen it done with a simple change in font from conversation to regular narration.
    For example, one of the books I read recently had all the chat information in courier and the regular narration in times new roman.

    ~Lynn
     
  11. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    It does look much better that way. At least I wasn't completely off. :)
     
  12. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Exactly what I was going to recommend.
     
  13. hal10001
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    hal10001 New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the help! I went with Cogito's suggestion, and it flows really nice with the paragraphs before and after, and sets the dialogue apart from the rest of the story. Thanks again!
     
  14. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    On this subject, there are two bestselling books TTYL and TTFN that are written in all instant messaging chats. The way those are written is like this:

    Person 1: Says something
    Person 2: Says something

    ~Lynn
     
  15. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    Cogito knows what's up.
     

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