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Dos and Don'ts of Writing Text Convos

It can be hard to keep up with texting culture, but since it’s such a big part of our lives now, we’re here to help you get it just right with these dos and don’ts.

I would like to point out that it’s not the author’s fault when it comes to using the wrong text lingo! Trust me, it changes every other day, and by the time you finally catch up and write it into your story, it switches again. It’s impossible to predict.

Usually with a problem like this, people tend to avoid it. However, since texting has become part of our day-to-day lives, it’s impossible to avoid.

Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful when it comes to text conversations not disrupting the flow of the story!

• DO use proper grammar. You can never go wrong with this. Even though people don’t always text this way, full and proper sentences keep the story flowing smoothly and stops any possible jarring moments from text lingo that’s been long out of style.

• DON'T rely solely on texting lingo. Since this lingo changes so often, your story may feel dated sooner if the text convos are packed with abbreviations and texting phrases.

• DO include group chats. I rarely contact friends one-on-one unless I’m texting about something serious or private. Bonus points if you actually name each group chat (if there are more than one) in order for the reader to keep track of them.

• DON'T focus on memes. Like lingo, memes change daily and it’s impossible to try and keep up with the latest trends. References can be fun, but consider using a mainstream reference. For example, a reference from a popular movie like Titanic will mean more to most readers than a reference from an obscure movie like Ten Thousand Saints.

• DON'T have your characters sign their name or initials at the end of every text. They’re not BBC’s Sherlock. Unless they’re receiving a text from an unknown or blocked number, don’t have them sign their name/initials. And even then, I’d stick with just keeping the contact name as “Blocked” or “Unknown.”

What do you like seeing in text dialogue? Any pet peeves? Let us know in the comments below!

Author spotlight

Rose E.F.

Intern at Swoon. Hopeful cultural anthropology and history major. Part-time writer and professional bowler. Full-time Nasty Woman.

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