Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy New Year, Internet!

The secret is out: I have a giant crush on Wil Wheaton's writing. He loves it and he works hard at making a vocation of it, which I admire. A discerning reader can tell that his writing has been carefully crafted, but his voice is strong and refreshing, and he always makes sure that the reader is rewarded (usually emotionally, but sometimes intellectually as well) for the time spent reading. The truest indicator of his skill is my ability to follow his posts on gaming, a subject in which I have little to no interest.

Anyway, I'm telling you about this because a recent post of his on the demise of Ficlets has brought a couple of Internet "writing opportunities" (for lack of a better term) to my attention. A commenter there suggested that he check out quillpill, which is a Twitter-esque noveling site. When I poked the Internet a bit more, I came up with textnovel, a similar app but without the character limit. These two programs are apparently the U.S. versions of the Japanese "Magic Island," which is a platform that has allowed angsty Japanese girls with cell-phones to hit the best-seller list. According to the New Yorker article, 4 out of the top 5 literary fiction books in Japan were cell-phone novels.

Cell-phone novels! Novels written by and for the age of mobile technology! For once, I sort of don't feel as though I am behind the curve. I've updated this fiction blog from my mobile device more than once or twice. When I am riding in a car and we go past something that makes me think, that puts a phrase in my head that I can't stop hearing, I love having the ability to write it up on my BlackBerry and e-mail it straight to this blog. But I'd be curious to see one of these published cell-phone novels in person. They sound like picture-less manga, more or less. Too bad my Japanese was never very good and is rusty now, otherwise I'd try to order one.

Cell-phone noveling: is it something I should look into? Would you be interested in reading/writing that type of literature? Why or why not? And do you think it even counts as literature?


Stan Soper said...

Hi Melanie,

Nice blog post -- very thoughtful. I hope you decide to try out Textnovel. You can make additions to your story (novel, poetry or whatever) by MMS text or email or do it online. I'm having a lot of fun following the different types of postings that are going up on the site.

Melanie said...

Thank you for commenting, Stan Soper, founder of Textnovel.

If you do happen to check back, I'd be interested to hear about your motivations concerning the cell phone novel. Do you use Textnovel yourself? Are you using it more like Twitter, or more with the idea of creating a long form piece of literature?