how do u like 2 read?

Here’s a question for you:

As a reader HOW DO YOU PREFER TEXT MESSAGES TO APPEAR when they show up in a book you’re reading?

We all know that a lot of numbers & letters show up in text messages in place of longer words.  For example:  “Where r u?”“C u 2nite”“kthxbi”

But when you’re not reading an actual text & are instead reading a book, do you prefer to see that, because it’s more similar to modern texting habits, or would you rather see everything written out in proper English, letting your brain shorthand it later? (i.e. “Where are you?”“See you tonight.”“Okay, thanks. Bye!”)

Yes, there’s some texting going on in Top Secret Project #3, & I’m trying to figure out how I want to portray that.

On the one hand, I’m a stickler for proper English…& spelling…& grammar.  If I do anything improper in my books—along those lines, I mean :smiley3 —it’s almost always on purpose.  Or at least with the clear knowledge that I’m making the mistake.  (Sometimes things just read better when you play a loosey-goosey with the grammar rules, but I always know I’m doing it. :smiley30 )

On the other, I’m well aware that few people use proper spelling & grammar while texting—Yours Truly included.  When it comes to texting & making handwritten notes, I’m not just loosey-goosey, I’m a total wet noodle!  I cut corners & use all the easy abbreviations. :smiley26

Yet using text shorthand while I’m writing a book feels very strange.  Not wrong, exactly, but odd & uncomfortable. :smiley7

That being said, I want to make sure I’m relaying text messages between my characters in a way that YOU, the READER will understand & feel is most realistic.

So tell me—which do you prefer?

Or do you even care?  Maybe it doesn’t matter to you one way or the other, because you focus only on the story & not so much on the book’s formatting. :smiley28

But either way, let me know! :smiley24


13 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Anne says:

    I think it should be as it’s done in real life because you’re simulating it, however since I don’t text, there’s a lot of abbreviations I don’t know so it can be frustrating if it’s a book has a lot of texting. I read a teen book that was all in text, but I think it was before the many, many abbreviations there are now.

    • Heidi says:

      See! That’s the problem I’m having. In real life, some of the text abbreviations are not only crazy, but semi offensive. I mean, people use “cum” for “come” & that just gives me the squicks. :smiley21

      So it’s a matter of *maybe* using some abbrevs, but not all or just making it super easy to read & assuming readers will know in real text it would be different. I’ve seen it both ways. :smiley18

      • Anne says:

        I hadn’t seen cum used. I agree, yuck! And really is it that much harder/time consuming to use one more letter?

  2. Dee says:

    In real life I do not usually abbreviate. But I think it depends on the personality of the characters.

    • Heidi says:

      Good point. Unfortunately, these characters (one of them, anyway) would probably text in something close to chicken scratch. :smiley29

      Trying to figure out maybe a happy-medium. :smiley33

  3. Pamela Cayne says:

    I think whatever the characters would do is how you should do it, so I have no problem reading text slang. However, I think it’s like writing accents–a little bit for flavor and then let the reader hear it in their head. (Because I, too, do not know all of the current slang and have problems with some, both in understanding and squick factor, so would prefer a little more on the side of English/grammar.)

    • Heidi says:

      Y’know, when I read text messages in a book, I notice if they’re written out in proper spelling/grammar, because I know it wouldn’t really look like that in real life. BUT…it’s also so much easier to read when it’s written normally rather than shorthanded.

      Dilemmas, dilemmas… :smiley26

  4. Mary Kirkland says:

    I don’t text because *can you believe it* I don’t have a cell phone. But I think it should look like it does in real life because that’s what people would expect to see.

    • Heidi says:

      LOL Don’t feel bad, Mary, I sometimes wonder why I have a cell…I hardly ever use it, rarely even remember to turn it on. When I need to text with someone, I’ll turn it on & keep it near me, but when the convo’s over, I forget about it again. :smiley21

  5. Michelle T says:

    I think if you’re going to use a form of language in a book, you should keep it as close to reality as possible. Not everyone uses shorthand when they text, I personally don’t (except for the occasional LOL), but many others do. I think as the artist of this work, if it feels like your character would use shorthand they you should. And you don’t have to feel obligated to use all the common terms – certainly not “cum” for “come” because, ewww. And maybe you could put a glossary in the back to define them for those less “text-literate”.
    That’s my two-cents :smiley29

    • Heidi says:

      If I kept it too close to reality, it would probably be totally indecipherable because my texting always includes a lot of misspellings. (Tiny buttons + fat fingers = *&^$#!? LOL :smiley2 )

      But I do think I could use a mix of both text shorthand & normal writing to give the *flavor* of texting without making readers scratch their heads. :smiley7

      I’ve actually used texting before in my stories, but this time there’s a bit more, so it’s becoming a stylistic issue. :smiley24

  6. Brooke C says:

    I agree with what Pamela wrote. I think having a few slangy/abbreviated terms can help make things seem more realistic, but I personally find it a bit annoying when the message is so abbreviated that it’s hard to figure out what someone means. :smiley31
    And these days there are just so many new abbreviations popping up everywhere, I don’t understand what most of them mean. Pretty much anytime I’m online I end up googling some slang term to figure out its meaning. :smiley18

    • Heidi says:

      Ditto! I don’t like it when the modern abbreviations slow down my reading because it’s like ??????? :smiley21

      A mix would probably be good. Easy to decipher shorthand, but nothing too confusing or thought-intensive.

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