The art of conversation in text

Sometimes the dialogue I write is in the form of emails or text messages. Obviously, it’s probably down to the publisher on how they handle the formatting, but when writing, do you bother with the subject, the names, the dates? I don’t. For one reason, I’ve no specific date in mind. Does it have to be laid out, like an email? Does it lend authenticity or make it look pretentious. Isn’t it the content, the writing that is the important element? Up to now I’ve separated the text out and used italics to indicate it is not speech but first person dialogue, of sorts.

If I write text messages, the kind which typically appear in a little speech bubble on the screen, does the text have to  contain all those badly spelt words – like gr8 for great? Realistic perhaps, but do all readers know them if I did use them. I spend time looking them up, much to my irritation. What the hell is IMHO?  Oh, right, you want to be humble, okay… In any case, many message systems autofill words (such a pain when they get it wrong). As for emoticons 😦

I wonder if writers around the time of the invention of the telephone wondered how best to write these scenes. Did they debate how dialogue changes when you can’t see the other person?

What next, how to describe webcam conversations – the jerky picture, the misheard words, the unavailability of physical contact. How to describe the frustrations of not being able to hug somebody in tears, yet you have to show compassion somehow and avoid the awkwardness.

In the future, will we have 3D video calls, like a hologram, where we get to sit in the same room and feel like we’ve got company?

Now I’m beginning to wonder if I should set my book in the future – might be fun.






  1. As a writer, I’m annoyed by shortcuts. I mean, BTW (by the way) or FYI (for your information) are fine, but “gr8cul8r ttfn” makes me wonder: do you really have so little time for a proper message? that said, there’s a gr8 read of YA books written entirely in texts. Lauren Miracle, I believe, is the author. Unique style and easy to follow.


    1. I’m of the generation that pre-dates emails and texts, so I’ve never acquired the lingo that goes with it. I like words because they are consistent in appearance and not disguised by numbers and abbreviations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My husband and i started texting when i was at a phone-call-monitored job. Hes a scientist; I’m a writer. Theres no way either of us can abbreviate. 🙂 A lazy insult, unless a private joke. Texting is fine cimmunucation as long as its not sloppy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love seeing the clever combos on license plates…! That is worth it!


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