1. GeorgiaMasonIII

    GeorgiaMasonIII Member

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    Summarizing vs. Typing Out Facebook Conversations

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GeorgiaMasonIII, Jan 26, 2017.

    I'm trying to figure out what to cut from a NaNoWriMo novel, and I had some conflicting input from readers on this topic. I have two conversations in my manuscript that occur over Facebook chat and are typed out, and I worry that they are too long and uninteresting despite being necessary to the plot. On the other hand, I think it might seem clunky and inorganic if I simply describe the conversations instead of typing them out. So, as readers, which would you rather read: a brief summary of a plot-necessary conversation or the conversation itself?
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Can you maybe skip large chunks of the conversation?
     
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  3. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    I think it depends on if the actual typed words have any importance. If the subject is all that matters, perhaps a summary would be better. However, if there are certain ways of phrasing things that could show character or hint at tension, etc, then it may be beneficial to show the conversation. I actually have an IM conversation in one of my novels (though I format it like dialog)--the reason I don't skim it over is so that I can show when the person types, pauses, doesn't respond right away, etc, and have the receiving character reflect on it.

    All that said, even if you show the conversation, it's worth paring down. If it's long and uninteresting, well, it's long and uninteresting. I've found that I often overwrite dialog and need to shorten and clean it up in the editing stage.
     
  4. GeorgiaMasonIII

    GeorgiaMasonIII Member

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    I'm doing something similar re: one character reflecting on what the other is saying. The conversation also takes place early in the story and I feel like it's important to characterization.

    I've already pared down the conversation quite a bit. My dialogue often has the problem of being too realistic and not enough like what a reader would actually enjoy reading :p
     
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    As I so often do, I communicate my suggestion by example:

    12:55 Joe: So how's it going?"
    12:57 Jane: Meh. Work sucks.
    1:01 Joe: I'm sorry. Want to talk about it?

    Joe reached for the Cheetos and settled in for another endless virtual gripe session. It made Jane feel better, and gave him an excuse to avoid doing the dishes. Micromanaging boss, credit-stealing colleagues, blah de blah. He was shaking the last of the orange dust out of the bag when the conversation suddenly snapped him back to attention.

    3:14 Jane: And when the diamond shipment comes in, it all gets worse.

    Ooooh? Joe put the bag down, wiped his hands, and typed his response carefully.

    3:17 Joe: Since when does your company deal in jewelry?
    3:19 Jane: Oh, God, don't get me started.

    Joe got her started. Sympathy. Flattery. It all flowed from his typing fingers like honey. In minutes, the details started to flow back.

    3:31 Jane: And the guards aren't even cleared to carry weapons. You think he told the client they're unarmed?
    3:47 Jane: If he thinks they're not going to stop at the funnel cake stand just because the truck's full of jewelry, he's got another think coming.
    4:02 Jane: No, the GPS has been broken for a year!

    By the time Jane signed off, offering her gratitude for letting her vent, Joe had three notebook pages filled with details. "The rewards of empathy, fuzzhead," he said to the cat. "You should try it sometime."
     
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