Formatting Text Messages

Texting. How the heck do you format text messages in your novel?!

There are so many ways to do it, so which is best?

One thing that’s the same with all the ways I’ve seen is writers usually put the text messages in italics, another font, or both, so it stands out from the text. Keeping it simple seems to be the best way I’ve found. Why? Because when you convert your manuscript into an ebook, your beautiful formatting can get messed up. Ekk!

I did updates on Verona Wolves this morning, so it’s still open on my desktop. I’ll grab a few texting conversations from that book to use as examples.

First Example: This is how my former publisher, SCP, taught me to format texts. Though it works great when you have one text message, when you have a back-and-forth conversation with two people, it can confuse the reader on who typed what. I don’t format text messages like this anymore.

From Verona Wolves: Firebird Series Book #1

Second Example: This is how the editor at another publisher I signed with dealt with text messages. Messages are italicized and formatted like the character is reading. If you want text messages to hide within the text, this is a good way to do it, but if you have longer texting conversations, I don’t think it works as well.

From Verona Wolves: Firebird Series Book #1

Third Example: I’m not fond of this way but I’ve seen people use it.

From Verona Wolves: Firebird Series Book #1

Fourth Example: I like this one and it’s probably one of my favs. It’s set up how you see messages on your phone and stands out from the rest of the text.

From Verona Wolves: Firebird Series Book #1

Fifth Example: I like this way, though it’s plain. It tells you who’s talking, stands out from the text, and is easy to read. The downside to this way is it can get boring to read when you have longer texting convos.

From Verona Wolves: Firebird Series Book #1

How do you format text messages in your manuscripts? Add your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to see them!

Resembling Your Characters

My son, who recently asked me why I photoshopped myself on the cover of Black Kat, inspires this post. In his defense, he hadn’t seen this cover since he was little and I’ve heard this from several other people.

My books are adult-themed, so I don’t discuss them with him, either. Now his friends know his mom’s a “famous” author and did a bunch of research on me during a free period. I have mixed emotions about sixth-graders researching my books. It’s uncomfortable, yet I’m flattered they think I’m cool.

I’ve noticed A LOT of authors, especially newbies, make their main characters like them even when not meaning to. Maybe it’s in their character’s looks or personality, or it’s a fantasy they’re acting out through a story they wrote.

Even in veteran authors’ books, they bury pieces of themselves in their stories. Our likes and dislikes, as well as our fantasies. Woo…the last one is juicy, right?! If I’m reading through a friend’s book, I have fun picking out the pieces of them hidden in the story.

Let’s get to the other parts of me that leak out in Black Kat. It’s not as exciting as you’d think. So…sorry to disappoint. I love figure skating and watched it with my bestie when I was a kid along with gymnastics. Though I rocked at rollerblading, I never did well at ice skating but wished I did, so I made Gwen a skater.

The hockey part for the book came in because my nephews play and I used to attend the hockey games with my brother and his family. Fun times. *cough* especially the strip show at the end of the Thunderbird games.

The biggest reason I wrote the book was an author friend did a research novel on MMA, and I thought it looked like a fun challenge, so I researched hockey. I interviewed a college hockey player for my book, so shout out to Austin for letting me ask him a million questions while I wrote it. There’s a scene in Black Kat toward the end that comes from one of Austin’s hockey stories involving a homemade trophy.

Other characters of mine who have pieces of me? Let’s do a list.

Character most like me (overall): Addison Vallore (Christian’s Kisses). She’s closest to me in personality. Addison’s nerdy, yet ditzy, a little hyper, an artist, and a hopeless romantic/dreamer.

Character who looks most like me: Aleesia Sasson (Bloodlust Prince), especially since I switched back to blonde hair a while back.

Male character most like me: Hunter Callahan (Firebird Series). This is weird, but my close friends, who know my crude sense of humor, would agree. Because of that, and his warm personality, he’s the (male character) most like me.

This was a fun glimpse into my mind, right? I’d love to see more authors make a list and reveal a few secrets hidden in their books. If you do one, let me know! I’d love to see it.

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