The Opposite of a Book

There is a new App out focusing on the Twitter style of fiction. 250 characters or less. The creators think this will be “disruptive” ( a term that all tech startups tend to use). The app is called TaleHunt. I am not sure that I see this as disruptive, so much as feeding the short lived attention span that mobile users tend to have. Don’t get me wrong, I could see playing with a few flash fiction attempts–although this term is used in other ways–but it is not the same as even a short story. Nor is it really new.

Ernest Hemingway is often credited with writing one of the shortest complete pieces of fiction (it is a bit apocryphal, so he may not have, but a lot of people like to attribute it to him). The story goes:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

This has led to some imitators and even a focus on six word limits for a story and entire collections of these. The concept of flash fiction has been around a long time. Hardly “disruptive” in the sense of novelty.

Still, the fact that this gets press and that it is now part of the mobile infrastructure ties back to the book as being important. How many different flash fiction authors are you going to remember. How many will change your life.

At least the founders have some stated good intentions, of declaring that this will allow authors to generate interest. To lead the readers to their books on Amazon. Maybe.

Maybe this sort of flash fiction is a bit like a performance. Like a musician. Except musicians get paid for their performances.

Or maybe this will cause some teens to write more. If that happens, I can’t fault it. If I could get my 10 year old daughter to write down her ideas, rather than just tell them, or record videos of them, then I would be happy. 250 characters is a start.


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