magazine reading reflection

Sifting Through Literary Magazines

(Photo taken February 7, 2007)

This week I’ve found myself extremely intrigued by literary magazines. I ventured out to The Booksmith on Haight to pick up a copy of The First Line since I anticipate submitting stories to them. While I was there, I began looking at other magazines and discovered a few more that I hadn’t known about.

To be honest, I didn’t think much of literary magazines until recently. I was more interested in consumer magazines and didn’t find interest in reading others’ stories. I suppose you can say I was engulfed in my own writing and felt like I couldn’t be bothered to read short stories, and that my time would be better spent reading novels…

But of course that mindset has changed. There’s an abundance of literature to be read out there, and, after looking through several magazines I’ve purchased, I realize that hey, reading others’ short stories is enlightening. We’re all in the same boat and it’s nice to see the different styles strewn throughout the different journals. That’s what makes art art: we may have same or similar dreams, but we all go about the experience in different ways through our different writing styles.

#amwriting contest Internet magazine news Twitter

Cell-phone novels: A Fad or More?

I read about cell-phone novels in the latest issue of The Writer Magazine, and honestly, I hadn’t even thought about cell-phone novels before the article (didn’t even know they existed). According to the article, this genre really took off in Japan (not surprised), and is just now starting to catch on in the US (isn’t it always like that when it comes to technology/trends?). The point of a cell-phone novel is material posted serially via, you guessed it, cell-phones. 140 characters per post–sounds like Twitter to me. Two websites, Quillpill and Textnovel have popped up in the US serving this genre: post your clips on the sites, get user feedback, and, possibly win a prize for a well-written cell-phone novel.

I think this genre has potential, but it also seems too early to tell since I had never even heard of this genre before I read the article. Since the article was featured in The Writer Magazine, I’m not sure if non-writing folk know of this genre just yet.

For some people, reading novels on a cellphone works for them; for me, I still prefer to hold an old-fashioned book and read that way. I am sure there is still a considerable number of people who prefer to read books the old-fashioned way.

Also, I took a look at the two websites earlier and my first impression of both places (in terms of layout/usability of the site) was not so great. Quillpill had a cleaner look than Textnovel, but Quillpill was also pretty dark with colors. Textnovel uses lighter colors, but I can’t help but feel like the colors don’t work so well in usability either. The point of the websites is not to show off great layouts, but still…when it comes to drawing people in to use their services, it’d be better to have layouts that are usable and attractive to some sense.

But, that’s besides the point of what Quillpill and Textnovel are offering. Would I consider signing up with one of the websites to try things out? Well, I’d consider it, but I believe I could do the same (write a “cell-phone”/serial novel) via Twitter. The difference between Twitter and the other two sites is that Twitter doesn’t have the votes/feedback options. Textnovel offers a contest for the best written cell-phone novel, and one Textnovel writer is actually in the process of getting her novel published traditionally. Sounds like a good deal, right?

I’ll probably wait on this prospect since I’m already bogged down by my backlog of blog entries and other writing projects. I already post little clips of potential stories to Twitter, so I’m not sure if I’d be able to utilize Quillpill or Textnovel fully. Would you try these services out? Do you think the cell-phone novel can survive?

editing learning magazine public library

Fruits of Today’s Labor:

I went a little “crazy” at the SFPL today with writing books. I had intended on sitting down and skimming through the books, but the library was buzzing with people and there weren’t many convenient places to sit at. So, I simply checked out all the books and brought them home with me. I spent a good 3-4 hours at the library in the morning: perused through a couple issues of Writer’s Digest and The Writer to get some tips and write down some notes. In all honesty, it was the first time for me to look at the magazines, and I was pleasantly surprised to find so much information in both of them. I got a lot more ideas for promoting my works and, in general, improving upon my craft.

Tonight, I read through a few of my shorter works from last year; having trouble trying to edit them since I am all too familiar with the plots (or lack thereof). Also, I keep finding myself feeling stumped by the differences between novella vs. short story vs. flash fiction. Does anyone have an answer? I feel like I need some enlightenment in that area.