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Old 06-19-2018, 02:50 PM   #1
tomlitilia
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Rules/conventions about how to cite sms/texting in fiction?

Are there any rules/conventions about how to cite texting in fiction? Given that texting is a big part of how we communicate these days, it seems like some guidelines should have evolved. I typically cite texting as I would spoken communication but with italics to separate texting from speaking. I feel it works, but interested to hear if someone knows about some formal recommendations.
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:58 PM   #2
KeithD
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There's a new edition of the Chicago Manual of Style out, which might have addressed this (I don't have a copy and am not going to spring for a copy), but, no, up to that point, I haven't seen any writing authority that gives help on this.

Although I've never found an authority providing guidance on this (yet), I've found offered guidance on the Internet, which, variously, suggests italicizing the text, or underlining it, or changing the font for it. For Literotica format, it seems only the italicizing would work/convey, and that would seem to be a "good enough" solution until authoritative guidance was available.

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Old 06-19-2018, 03:20 PM   #3
SimonDoom
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I researched this issue a while ago when I wrote a story in which texting was a very important form of communication. I found that there is no standard format for writing text communications. If you do the research yourself, you'll see lots of strong opinions and suggestions but no generally accepted format.

The last time I checked the Chicago Manual of Style on this, about a year ago, it did not have a specific recommended format, as I recall.

So far, in my stories I've written text communications like dialogue, with quotation marks and dialogue tags that substitute "texted" for "said." It seems to work fine.
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Old 06-19-2018, 03:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonDoom View Post

So far, in my stories I've written text communications like dialogue, with quotation marks and dialogue tags that substitute "texted" for "said." It seems to work fine.
Same here. I add texted or typed. I’ve used italics and misused apostrophes to signify text or email communication. I’ve tried to find good references but suggestions I found were generally either too onerous or foolish.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:15 PM   #5
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I prefer the use of typing between angle quotes (Guillemets?) < >

Not long ago, the this topic was discussed here and here. Maybe those threads have some useful information for you?
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:40 PM   #6
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I just re-installed and fired-up the LIT Android app on my tablet. It still supports no HTML tags. It likely supports extended character sets but I didn't check. I read here somewhere that a large chunk of LIT readers use the app and thus never see italics, bolds, etc.

How would I render texting? All-caps comes to mind.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypoxia View Post
I just re-installed and fired-up the LIT Android app on my tablet. It still supports no HTML tags. It likely supports extended character sets but I didn't check. I read here somewhere that a large chunk of LIT readers use the app and thus never see italics, bolds, etc.

How would I render texting? All-caps comes to mind.
I think all caps is always annoying to read, except in tiny doses. If you want a format that is compatible with the absence of html tags, I'd recommend just putting texts in quotation marks. That's one of the reasons I do it that way. I haven't received any negative comments about it and it doesn't seem to be confusing.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomlitilia View Post
Are there any rules/conventions about how to cite texting in fiction? Given that texting is a big part of how we communicate these days, it seems like some guidelines should have evolved. I typically cite texting as I would spoken communication but with italics to separate texting from speaking. I feel it works, but interested to hear if someone knows about some formal recommendations.
I've used text messaging a few times (to the point of adding 'texted' to my dictionary), and I've always just enclosed it in quotation marks. The context and tags make it clear that it's a text.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:00 PM   #9
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Unless you're writing for either The New Yorker or The Lancet, pubs with very specific syle requirements, I think the bottom line is that the author can use whatever style he or she wishes, provided that it is clearly different from normal and easily understood.

Guillemets (>> <<) are the equivalent of AngloAmerican quotation marks, so the suggestion to use those is a fine one. (I'm using those in a story I'm working on in a pseudotelephathic manner.)

If it's just a few words, ALL CAPS would work. Too much would indeed be annoying.

In places allowing it:
  • Small caps would work (think Death in the Discworld series)
  • A different font would do, too.
  • A double indent, ditto.

Or one could simple allow context to distinguish. For instance, "r u there? txt me asap," would generally be understood to be sms or similar, for people don't actually speak like that.
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubenR View Post
I prefer the use of typing between angle quotes (Guillemets?) < >

Not long ago, the this topic was discussed here and here. Maybe those threads have some useful information for you?
I've used < > to signify texts or emails - state what it means with the first use to establish the convention, then carry on. Readers are clever, they figure it out.

I wouldn't use capitals, unless the text was DELIBERATELY SHOUTING.
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:21 AM   #11
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I've used the format that my texting app and WhatsApp exports, for example:

[18:49] Name: "Words"

It's brusque, and obvious, as most texts are. It allows the conversation to fly back and forth and gives the sense of immediacy (or not, depending upon the timestamps).
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypoxia View Post
I just re-installed and fired-up the LIT Android app on my tablet. It still supports no HTML tags. It likely supports extended character sets but I didn't check. I read here somewhere that a large chunk of LIT readers use the app and thus never see italics, bolds, etc.

How would I render texting? All-caps comes to mind.
And half the time it drops line from one page to another if you change the font size.
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