50 Shades of Technology

50 Shades of Technology

If you’re anything like me, you don’t use your phone to actually talk to people.  Except your mom, who REFUSES to text, no matter how many times you tell her it’s the quickest and easiest way to get a hold of you.

calling him

I’ve noticed media is reflecting this shift in communications.  I recently a watched video about how filmmakers are working around representing various text based communication in a visual medium.

It got me thinking about how books are using text.  As writers, we don’t really have to worry as much about how it looks, since, you know, books are text.

Sometimes, text messages conversations are set in a bold font, like in Maggie Stiefvater’s Sinner:

"Sinner" by Maggie Stiefvater

“Sinner” by Maggie Stiefvater

In The Fault in Out Stars by John Green, text messages are slightly inset:

"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

Incidentally, the movie finds a cute way to show them on screen:


The book Night Film by Marisha Pessl employs fansites and news stories to tell about a reclusive cult filmmaker and the mysterious death of his daughter.  She doesn’t just write a New York Times article, she shows you how it would actually appear online:

"Night Film" by Marisha Pessl

“Night Film” by Marisha Pessl

The Fifty Shades trilogy is overflowing with text.  The entire Kinky Fuckery Contract is printed in the book.  The NDA Christian makes Ana sign is printed.  And there’s the emails.  Ana and Christian are constantly sending emails.  It’s not horrible to look at:

50 shades email

But check out what happens on the audiobook:

 

These email chains go on for pages.  And every single time, she reads the heading – to, from, subject, date, time stamp – and the signature.  Did you know Christian Grey is the CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.?  The audiobook will NEVER LET YOU FORGET IT!

I’m not saying it was wrong of E.L. James to have her characters e-mail.  I would’ve done text messages, not e-mails, but it did end up being a plot point, so I guess I’ll give her a pass.

No, this is just a reminder to think carefully about every piece of text you type on the page.