1. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Writing out a text message in fiction

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by John Carlo, Apr 11, 2012.

    So what is the consensus? I use italics when writing out a text message in my fiction, as I only like to use quotations for dialogue. Is there a standard though? Should I just use a more computer-like font? While I'm at it, how about for thoughts? I also use italics for a character's thoughts as well. I would like to differentiate.
     
  2. Sam M
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    Sam M Member

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    So long as it's clear that it's a text message, I don't think it matters too much. Use whichever you prefer/reads easier for you.

    For character thoughts: http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=49391&highlight=
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sigh.

    There is a standard. It is NOT italics.

    Dialogue is word-for-word communication. It is not limited to warbling vocal cords. It includes text messages, signing, heliography, wig-wagging, snail mail, and telepathy. All can use either quoted strings or block quotes (indented text without quotation marks).

    The only exception is internal dialogue, i.e. quoted thoughts to yourself. That uses normal text without quotation marks.

    Please read He said, she said - Mechanics of Dialogue.

    Italics are not writer's duct tape. There are specific uses for italics. Don't just use italics every time you're tempted to make the text look different.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto all of that!

    fyi, the most effective and commonly used technique for including text messages or any other kind is the 'block indent'... look it up...
     
  5. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Will do. Thanks.

    Thanks to you as well, Cogito. Read the link. Very helpful.
     
  6. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    Personally I'd go for a block indent quote which has a similar appearance to an actual text message. For example:

    He felt a vibration surge through him while he desperately tried to prise open the reinforced metal door. It was his phone. He took it out of his pocket and examined the text he'd received.
    [table="width: 600, align: center"]
    [tr]
    [td]
    From: Doomed Love Interest

    I don't mean to alarm you, but the water level in this underground bunker is rising quite rapidly. I am quite thirsty, so that might buy us a few seconds, but you might wanna hurry it up a smidge. Also, I forgot to set the DVR for Glee. Thanks x[/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]
     
  7. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    Now what would you do in YA books? I have my MC text a friend and they were using text short form (i.e. "I'm srry") and I put it in Arial. Is this incorrect? I've seen it done in other YA books, which is essentially why I did it that way.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are no font changes in manuscript. Such games are only played in the typesetting phase, after the manuscripyt has been accepted. You are therefore not to blame. :)

    Use the block quote (indented block with no quote marks).
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and don't change the font... keep the entire ms in courier new [the most commonly acceptable font among agents and editors, since tnr is too tiny and cramped to read all day, every day without going blind or having chronic migraines]
     
  10. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    Good to know! :)
     

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