Text Message Novels

This literary genre has apparently been developing for a few years, but I've just learned about it today. In 2007, Japanese romance novel writer who goes by the name Yume-Hotaru published one of his stories in short bits -- small enough to fit into text messages. And that's how they spread across the country. Now the keitai shosetsu or cell phone novel is a literary sensation in Japan. Here's a CNN story on the subject from 2009:

As the name suggests, cell phone novels are written entirely on handsets and posted on sites like Maho no i-rando (Magic Island), the first and largest mobile novel portal in Japan. The site has a million titles, 3.5 billion monthly visitors and six million registered users, according to the company. Mobile readers instantly see new chapters as they are added, often adding comments about the direction they think a novel should take.

The diary-like stories are written and read mostly by young women in their teens and 20's. Many authors use pen names and claim their stories are at least partially autobiographical. The novels often center on themes that are rarely discussed aloud in Japanese society -- drugs, sex, pregnancy, abortion, rape and disease.


http://articles.cnn.com/2009-02-25/tech/japan.mobilenovels_1_cell-phone-cellular-keypad?_s=PM:TECH - Thanks, Norma! | Photo: Flickr user .curt

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I like the idea, but this:

Mobile readers instantly see new chapters as they are added, often adding comments about the direction they think a novel should take.

There's nothing new about it. At all. It's the nature of fanfic, and it's been going on for a LONG time.
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