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.
HOW DO YOU WRITE THAT?
I’ve seen it at least three different ways, and each one looks wrong.
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.
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!