3 Ways To Show A Text Conversation In A Book – And One Right Way

I was presenting at a writing seminar Saturday and this came up, so I’m reposting it so they can find it easily.

This post has become THE standard for creating a text conversation in your story. It was viewed over 22,000 times in 2017 and has been viewed almost 10,000 times already in 2018. It is the #1 Google result when someone types “how to show a text conversation in a story.”

YOU helped make all that happen!

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

img_2351-11 your humble host

We know how to write a sentence: noun, verb… a period at the end.

We know how to show dialog when our characters speak.

Dan scratched his head. “We do?”

“Yep,” she said.

But it turns out, we DON’T know how to depict a text conversation in a story! I checked.

There’s NO uniform way.

Oh, The Chicago Manual Of Style (CMOS) has a suggestion in the Q&A – but it sucks.

And other authors are trying to nail it down, especially the YA writers. Or they write around it.

Look, anybody can do this:

“how r u,” he texted;

“ha ha Daddy I can’t believe you use ‘r u,’” she replied.”

AWFUL. You wouldn’t use so many tags in a conversation showing speech, or regular conversational dialog, but here it’s supposed to be okay?

No.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

I (accidentally) used…

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