How To Write Chat Stories – Step by Step
Recently I was hired to write a chat story.
When the request came my way, via the Upwork platform, my first reaction was oooh, interesting, sounds like fun! My second reaction was to re-read the chat stories I have on my phone.
At this point, I had dabbled in chat stories, writing extracts and ideas, but I had never actually written one. Now someone wanted me to write one with 15 chapters. A thriller aimed at Gen Z for a new app that is set to be released later this year. Of course, I said yes!
Then, after writing and sending this work I realised that this would be a great topic to write about while it is still fresh in my mind.
So, here is some step by step instructions for writing your own Chat Story.
What is a Chat Story
It’s a story on a mobile platform told in text messages.
These can be any genre, any story, any amount of people involved, but without description.
Chat stories are much like scripts for a movie, but natural. The same way you would talk to someone on your phone, that’s how a chat speaks story works. Tell a story through your phone.
To be prepared you are going to need to know the following.
- How long do you want it to be? (15 chapters, 300 words per chapter.)
- What Genre are you writing? (This can be a love story, a life story, a thriller story, I went with an action adventure type theme)
- How many players? (Do you have two people talking in text, is it a group chat with three or more? I went with three for this.)
Decide On Your Story.
Like any novel, this will need structure. A plotline, a synopsis. Try this.
- Write down the amount of chapters on the page with the amount of words needed for each chapter and space for bullet points..
- Chapter 1: 300 words, chapter 2: 300 words, chapter 3: 300 words and so on.)
- Fill in chpater 1, how is it going to start and end.
- Remember you are going to want to keep the readers attention throughout. Mine started with two clling out for the third to answer, you get the idea that two are together and wanting the third to join. It finished with them agreeing to take a shortcut.
- Give the same rough idea of starting and ending for each chapter along with any major events that you see happening as you go.
- The followin chapter would look something like: Entering the alley that starts the shortcut. seeing something they shoudnt. running.
- Read over what you have written, fill in gaps and add any details that came to mind.
Once this is complete you have a full outline to work with.
Important Notes to Remember
Writing a chat story is not like writing a regular story.
The biggest and hardest difference in writing chat from writing a novel is the distinct lack of description. It is a conversation based novel. There is little to no sentences like they began their descent into the darkness. Every event, action, emotion, has to be shown through conversation.
Imagine a situation where two people are fighting against an assailant for their lives.
In a novel, you would write a blow by blow account with desperation and moments of terror. How does one put that in a chat story? Even worse, how does one put that in a chat story which relies on text messages. The people in the fight are not going to have time to be texting.
What you end up with is a one-sided conversation.
Cat: Jess, what happened?
Cat: JES ANSWER ME! R U OK?!
Notice the reader has no idea about this vivid battle for life that you are seeing in your mind, they only know something went wrong. The only way they are going to know what happened is if they receive a message afterwards explaining the battle.
GET IT WRITTEN
Probably the hardest part of writing any novel. Sitting down and writing the flippin’ thing.
You have all you need in your draft to write this story, now you need to write. One would think it would be easy writing only conversation, but you have to find a way to show emotion, tenseness, uncomfortableness, or love through text speak conversation.
You also need to make sure each character has their own unique voice This can be done through them using slang, or nicknames (one always refers to the other as gal, one always spells everything out, one always uses shorthand etc) Be consistent with those voices. If it helps make notes at the start of the story on who has what voice type.
If you are doing 15 chapters at 300 words you are only writing 4500 words. This can be done in a couple of hours. So write, just write and enjoy the story as you go.
Kelly is an author and blogger who completed her first novel while still in high school.
She is currently a full time writer. Her works include the outlaws series (4 books), The Lady in the Loft collection (Anthologies), Gaming blogs and guides (hired work), travel writing and more.
While Kelly has been writing stories for many years she got her start at online blogging through a free online course. This is what led to her being a full time work from home writer. To this day she states “It’s the best move I ever made.”
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