Monday, March 30, 2009
TWITTERING AWAY MY TIME, writing a ... novel?
By Claudia Ricci
Here it goes: the opening lines of my new novel:
"Unbeleivable find -- the way he sits here staring back at me. He hasn't said a word and yet, I know exactly what he is thinking so SCAR..."
OK, OK, so what did you expect from a novel being composed tweet by tweet on Twitter?
Apparently, there is a growing demand for these books. Swarms of people around the globe are reading novels composed as text messages, on cell phones.
One such novel, called "The Last Messages," by Finnish writer Hannu Luntiala, hit the streets, or the cell phones, a couple of years back and became quite the instant success story. Within a week of its being published, it had appeared on 22,000 websites! The reason for its success? Perhaps the NOVEL-ty of this type of NOVEL. Or, maybe it was just the fact that Luntiala spun a good story, a mystery about a guy who goes AWOL from his life as an IT exec, with no explanation. He roams through Europe and India, posting text messages back to his friends.
In Japan, the cell phone novel has become a huge new fad. According to a December 2008 article in The New Yorker, the cell-phone novel, or keitai shoshetsu, "is the first literary genre to emerge from the cellular age." A cell phone novel website called "Maho i-Land," has more than a million titles, all available for free.
Maho i-Land reports that the site receives three and a half BILLION visits per month. Move over Huffington Post!
According to the figures provided by the company, the site, which also offers templates for blogs and home pages, is visited three and a half billion times a month.
One novel, "Eternal Dream," published in December, 2006, was ranked among the top ten best-selling literary hardbacks the following years. By the end of 2007, according to the New Yorker, "cell-phone novels, all of them by authors with cutesy one-name monikers, held four of the top five positions on the literary best-seller list.
Many of these are what we might otherwise call romance novels. Writes The New Yorker: "In the classic iteration, the novels, written by and for young women, purport to be autobiographical and revolve around true love, or, rather, the obstacles to it that have always stood at the core of romantic fiction: pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, rape, rivals and triangles..."
As for my novel, I won't tell you much, except to say, it's a mystery.
To me, as much as anybody.
And oh yes, the first word of the novel -- unbeleivable-- is misspelled intentionally.