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

How do you write out a text conversation, anyway?

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

head shot 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 several styles…

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