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!