1. Crybaby
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    Crybaby Contributing Member

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    Style How To Set Out Email Conversation?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Crybaby, Sep 17, 2016.

    If you had two characters having conversations by email often, how would you set it out?
    Iv'e set it out this way:

    From:
    Subject:
    Date:

    Maybe there is an easier and clearer way of doing it?
    Help?
     
  2. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    I had quite a few text conversations in some scenes I wrote and I used [square brackets] for them, seemed to work okay.
     
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  3. Crybaby
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    Do you think that would work with email?
     
  4. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    Try it, write a scene that includes that and stick a bit of it on here. I think having all the heading every time would be a distraction, maybe just for the first one. I am sure others will chime in. I look forward to hearing what others think.
     
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  5. Crybaby
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    Crybaby Contributing Member

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    Right, here we go. This is not from anything I am writing just a lame example of an email conversation to peck at ;)
    I agree, the set up could become a distraction?

    From: DMcKenna
    Subject: Gym
    Date: Septemeber 21st 2016
    Time: 20:18

    Hey, want to meet tomorrow.

    From: KPrice
    Subject: Gym
    Date: September 21st 2016
    Time: 20:20

    Okay. Where and what time?

    From: DMcKenna
    Subject: Gym
    Date: September 21st 2016
    Time: 20:21

    By the rowing machines at 12.

    From: KPrice
    Subject: Gym
    Date: September 21st 2016
    Time: 20:22

    Rowing machines at 12, see you there.
     
  6. Caveriver
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    Caveriver Active Member

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    Have you thought about playing with alignment to clarify this some? I agree- the setups are distracting, but I think it's just because the spacing gets confusing. I want to skip over the setup once I get a rhythm, and it's hard in this form. What about aligning the first "speaker" on left margin, and the second on the right? It will appear like text messaging, but will make the From/Subject/Date/Time parts easier to ignore as the conversation goes on... and this way you can consistently include them, for anyone who want to read every last word.
     
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  7. Crybaby
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    Ne
    Never thought of that, i'll give it a try and see.
    Thanks.
     
  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Try paragraph break from main story and Italics. That is how I have done things when someone is reading something or listening to a recorded message.
    Before this let the reader know that they are checking their emails, and doubles space between email conversations. That should make things fairly simple. :)
     
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  9. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    Katie found an email from Denny

    From: DMcKenna
    Subject: Gym
    Date: Septemeber 21st 2016
    Time: 20:18

    Hey, want to meet tomorrow?



    Okay. Where and what time? she replied.



    By the rowing machines at 12?



    Rowing machines at 12, see you there.

    Having made the arrangement she shut her laptop and headed out the door, her sword hidden inside a cello case.
     
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  10. Crybaby
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    This makes sense actually. I quite like it.
    The characters in the story have several conversations via email, so I wanted the easiest way possible to set this out without confusing anyone. Repeated headings looked and felt clunky but I had never seen email chitchat in a novel before well, not to the exstent these characters go at it.
    Thanks for the advice.
     
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  11. Crybaby
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    Crybaby Contributing Member

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    Too many to choose from now ;)
    This too looks easy on the eye. Thanks all of you for your input. I will try them out and get others to read it for feedback and see which format was easiest.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  12. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Do you really need to show the emails? Just something to think about, maybe. This is one of those rare instances where I think it might be better to just tell readers about the emails or about the conversations than actually show the emails. Maybe it's a style thing.
     
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  13. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    Good point.
     
  14. Crybaby
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    Style thing? No, not a style thing, more a baffled thing. These two characters spend a lot of time emailing each other and at the time of writitng I just set out the whole email headings not giving it too much thought. There are moments the MC worries about how long it is taking the other to answer her and I guess I set it out more for me at the time so I could keep up with the story. Now I'm trying to edit and set it out better the email thing had me baffled.

    Your advice makes sense too and I thank you for your input. I will give it a try and see what feedback I get.
     
  15. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    There's nothing wrong with experimental formats. I recently read a chapter of a REALLY good book that was one of the characters who made a powerpoint presentation. The entire chapter was presented as slides. Conventions are not the only way to write.
     
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  16. big soft moose
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    I think it really depends on whether what they are saying is important - if its trivial you can just ignore the emails and say "bob arranged to meet cath by the rowing machines at 12" - if its got more meat on it the titles will be less intrusive

    the other thing is to interpserse the emails with action , because unless its like a messenger conversation emails are rarely replied to instantly , life has a tendency to get in the way
     
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