Thoughts on Writing: Using Texts in Your Narrative

Thoughts on Writing: Using Texts in Your Narrative

I recently finished reading a novel that spent time on the New York Times bestseller list. It was a mystery, so I expected twists and turns in the plot. What I didn’t expect was to identify weakness in the writing.

One flaw was easy enough to spot that I’m surprised that none of the author’s editors picked up on it. Even in written communication, each character should have a distinct voice. This book wove text messages from multiple characters through the narrative. And every one read like it was written by the same person, despite the fact that these texts were supposed to be from people of different ages, genders, and educational backgrounds. Sorry, no. That fails the plausibility test.

Check your mobile phone and open to any text conversations that you are currently having. Do you phrase things in the exact same way as the other person? Probably not. People have distinct texting patterns. Often, we greet one another and sign off using different phrases. We each have our own unique way of abbreviating words. Some of us are sticklers for proper grammar; others use text-speak. Some folks overuse punctuation!!! Others favor certain emojis. 🤣😂 It all boils down to this:

Make sure your written communication is as unique as your dialogue.

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Acceptance

I received the most wonderful email a few days ago. It was an acceptance letter for an unusual flash fiction short story that I wrote. I wanted to share this here because, as a writer, I think it’s so important that we relish our successes. It’s vital that we have something to sustain us during the long, painful drought of rejections. I love acceptance letters even more than seeing my pieces in print. It made my day. I even got paid!

For this piece, I saw the call for submissions, thought the concept would be a fun challenge, and whipped up something. I have no idea where I would have tried to market the piece had it not sold there. I wish I could share it with you now, but it’s in the publisher’s queue for November 2014.

Publication is a process. I can look back now and see the long road that I have travelled from emerging to published poet. Sometimes, I get frustrated that I can’t just jump from established poet directly to established short story writer. I may be in the middle of my journey as a poet, but I’m just unfolding the road map for writing fiction.

But today I celebrate my fiction writing success. I have found the road! 🙂

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