How Do You Write Text Conversations In Your Story?


Supposed you have two characters in a story that are texting back and forth to each other.

Like people do in real life, only with the boring parts removed.


I’ve seen it at least three different ways, and each one looks wrong.

Somebody has to know!
Somebody has to know!

I tried this (excerpt from my upcoming comedy “Poggibonsi”):

When I went back into my office, there was a new Real Time message from Sam.

I know you’re still up looking at my amazing reports on Italy. Go to bed.

I smiled. The lady knows me too well.

I messaged back. Can’t sleep.

Her reply was immediate. Too excited about Italy?

ME: Among other things.

SAM: You’re lucky. There’s a lot to do.

ME: Is there? Monique has us going to Rome for three days. Rome should be about a three hour trip. Coliseum, Parthenon, Vatican, done.

SAM: You mean Pantheon. The Parthenon is in Greece.

ME: Two hours, then.


Yeah, something about the ME/SAM thing doesn’t quite look like real writing. Blame somebody else, though; I snagged the pattern from a book I read last week.

But it was a mediocre book, so maybe that was a tipoff.

Good writers borrow, great writers steal - from other great writers, dummy.
Good writers borrow, great writers steal – from other great writers, dummy.

My friend recommended putting “beats” between the lines, like you would in regular dialog. That helps but just draws the conversation out. I’ll try it, though, because ME/SAM doesn’t work for me.

What do YOU do?

Post your examples in the comments section. Feel free to use lines from your own books, and to link to them as well. Then vote for the one that looks best.

We’ll all benefit!

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

2 thoughts on “How Do You Write Text Conversations In Your Story?

  1. Any new suggestions on this? I’m writing a novel where a good bit of the text is actually texting between two people. I don’t want to write the whole thing and have to re-format when done. Any other thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks so much!

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