1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Style How to write text messages and e-mails?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JJ_Maxx, Oct 11, 2013.

    What would be the best way to format a recieved text message or e-mail in a story.

    Italics?

    Bold?

    Non serif font?

    What do you think?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I've seen both italics and a different font used, and I thought they both worked just fine. I don't care for the bold as much. One thing to consider is that e-readers often let the user set their own font, so that might mess things up if you're showing texts using a separate font. Italics would avoid that problem.
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen texts and emails written as "quotes" but I like very much your type-writer font in example 3
     
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  4. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Yeah, the more I look, the more I see there's no hard and fast rule for how to format a text, or an e-mail. Seeing how this is only going to be 'published' here on these forums, I guess it's entriely up to me. ;)
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like your non-serif font. To me, it just seems clearest. But I see the potential problem with e-readers. My second choice is the italics.
     
  6. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I agree.
     
  7. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    I second that. Or, apparently, third it.
     
  8. Leigh Silvester
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    Leigh Silvester Member

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    I only joined this site to seek advice on this matter.

    Personally I don't like the idea of italics. I feel these should be reserved for specific purposes such as emphasis, thoughts (I know opinions vary on this) and of course latin.

    The use of bold seems clumsy to me and the use of different fonts such as Sans Serif ones has technical implications for various media.

    Having read around I feel that indented quoted text with the first few instances signposted as being an SMS conversation should be sufficient to convey the form of the dialogue.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I believe the traditional way (@mammamaia will correct me if I'm wrong, I'm sure) is the same as if quoting a letter: same font, all indented. However, I've seen both italics and different fonts. I haven't seen bold and I, personally, would be put off by it, but that's just me.

    Since it's just for the forum, you're right - your call.
     
  10. Patra Felino
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    Patra Felino Active Member

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    You could write "Where R U?" to make it clearer it's a text message.

    Just to clarify, that's not the sort of thing I write in my text messages though!
     
  11. Christine Cholette
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    Christine Cholette Member

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    I agree with above. The reason why I don't favour italics is because they are used so readily for written letters, emphasis, direct character thought.

    A text message or email to me should be shown differently than how the items noted above are portrayed. I think a different font, maybe a larger or smaller font size as well, and that way when it translates to e-readers, it will still appear as different.
     
  12. Leigh Silvester
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    Leigh Silvester Member

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    Following on from Patra, just add LOL, :), :-( or :-D to every other line.

    I do it all the time :-D
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    here i am, ed!

    in a ms that will be submitted to agents and paying publishers, there should be no different fonts used and no bold...

    the standard way to insert letters, articles, text messages, etc. is with a block indent... not italics... no "" are called for, when you use the block indent method... and the inserted text should be written exactly as the character is seeing it...

    if you're self-publishing, you can do what you want, but it's advisable to stick to standard techniques that readers are used to...
     
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  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Again (and know that this is irrelevant for @JJ_Maxx's purpose), I think it should be noted that what ends up in print from traditional publishers is not necessarily what was in the submitted manuscript. I think that distinction is what fuels a lot of disputes over formatting around here. :D
     
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This seems to me to be the proper format, though I also like the different font option if it is possible to format it.

    By the way, in all my reading about italics for thoughts, I don't recall seeing italics as the accepted convention for quoted text. Inner dialogue, yes, but my understanding is written text within a piece is written like spoken dialogue.
     
  16. RobT
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    RobT Active Member

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    Just curious. Is there an argument for, or a benefit in showing such things as a text when writing, when you could say . . .

    . . . or does it just come down to personal preference?
     
  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I would argue that the former approach reflects an urgency on Jenna's part that the latter does not.
     
  18. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Duly noted, Ed. That is definitely worth knowing.

    @mammamaia what is the correct way to block indent something in fiction? In non fiction I've seen two ways for iserting block quotes, but I've been meaning to ask which is correct and if the method is different in fiction.
    These are the two ways I've seen with MLA: 1. Indent left margin by 1 inch and leave the spacing the same; 2. Indent both sides .5 inches and leave the spacing the same.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ms should be double-spaced throughout, including inserts... and since normal paragraph indents are .5", the block indent would be 1" on either side...

    and i have to echo and emphasize what ed said about mss vs printed books... if your ms will be submitted to agents and paying publishers, do NOT format it according to what you see in books... you must follow the standard ms format, if you don't want to be seen as a clueless amateur and risk having your ms rejected on sight...
     
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  20. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Thanks @mammamaia That makes sense, but do I indent both sides or just the left?
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    both...
     
  22. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    So I just pick one and be consistent huh... :p Thanks maia! I've been wondering for a while now.
     
  23. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I write email's in the same manner that a traditional letter is written.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, 'both' means you must indent 'both' sides...
     
  25. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Oooooh! Okay thank you. Sorry about the confusion. I appreciate your help. :)
     

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