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Fiction on your phone

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Created on 2010-05-26 14:19:31 (#518349), last updated 2010-05-26 (386 weeks ago)

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Name:CellPhiction: Cellphone Novels
Posting Access:All Members
Cellphone Novel? WTF?
A cellphone novel is just that: a novel (or novella, really) written and read on a cellular phone. Due to the various shortcomings inherent in cellular phones, cellphone novels are restricted to the realm of microfiction, and the form enforces strict economy with words and details in order to tell the story at a decent pace and still remain within the limits of the medium.

Shortcomings? Microfiction? Huh?
Most people don't have iPhones, Blackberries, or Sidekicks. As such, the display capacity (and often the data capacity) of most people's phones is severely limited. It isn't at all uncommon for a phone to only be able to display about 160 characters on screen at one time. Additionally, many people in the United States don't subscribe to internet data plans, relying only on SMS (text) messaging to communicate textually on their phones. As such, the format of cellphone novels must be very compressed while still retaining reader attention.

When did this become a thing? Did you make it up?
We absolutely did not make it up. The form originated in Japan, where cellphone use is far greater than in places like the United States. The form has since gained great popularity in Japan and some other east Asian countries, and has stirred up controversy among literary critics who claim that it is eroding young people's knowledge and appreciation of language through its simplistic, slang-friendly format.

How is this presented to me? Will all the texts make my phone explode?
The last thing we want is for your phone to explode. The ideal method that we've found (so far!) is Twitter, oddly enough. While the 140 character limit per message is indeed stringent, it accommodates even the most outdated phones and modest cellphone plans. If you can send and receive SMS (basic text) messages, preferably on the unlimited text plans that are common enough these days, you can be a part of this. All sites that we have found which cater specifically to cell novels, like Text Novel and Moba Mingle, exclude a majority of potential users by operating through cellphone email and browsers, services to which many people do not subscribe because of poor service and costliness.

As for how the stories will be presented to you, that would depend largely on the individual author writing the story you've decided to follow. The following model provides an example, but isn't necessarily ideal:
-Write about ten individual posts (140 characters, about 15-25 words average).
-Store the posts as drafts on my phone.
-Post the first five of the posts at around noon, resulting in a small cluster of messages being delivered to my Twitter feed and followers.
-Release the second half of the day's chapter late in the afternoon.

Naturally, this will vary as my schedule and creativity dictate, but I will strive to keep the arrival times consistent.

Some may present their story as a journal or literal Twitter feed of their characters' lives, with updates arriving in real time according to when the events occur. Some people might be total flakes and just send stuff whenever! My recommendation to you, as a reader, would be to follow writers on your computer for a few days before subscribing on your phone so that you know when to expect updates, and consequently when it would be a good idea to set your phone to silent mode.

Okay, I'm sold. How do I start?
Continue to the Guidelines section of the profile and ingest the rich knowledge within. Next, fill out the information form at the end of the profile, join the comm, and make your introductory post. You don't need to have started your story yet. A passing interest in the subject is all you need to get in, but we'd be psyched if you'd write with us.
We all want to get along, and we all want to maybe know a little bit about how to work in this new form. This section attempts to address both concerns.

First and foremost: Don't be a jerk.
I shouldn't even have to explain this. Don't flame people, don't steal people's work, and don't continue knowingly reading stories that offend you just so you can tell the author in detail about how it offended you. It's not hard to not be a jerk, and the comm founder is relentlessly unforgiving. We're here to have fun, so keep that in mind lest you find yourself on the most unpleasant end of the Ban Hammer.

What this comm is for:
-Discussion of the cellphone novel form
-Discussion of stories we read and write
-In moderate amounts, discussion of cell culture
-Occasionally posting our phones/other shenanigans
-Questions! We're all learning here.

What this comm is NOT for:
-Rants about how much you hate Twilight. We already know. Replace 'Twilight' with any property, published or unpublished, that you want to rant about. There are plenty of general literature comms that would love to hear it, but it's not relevant here.
-Selling stuff. You may not sell phones, charms, straps, or anything else here. Again, there are more relevant places.
-Announcing every time you post a new chapter. You are free to announce milestones like the 50th chapter or the end of the story, but keep daily updates to your individual blogs.
-Really, anything not on the previous list.

Remember, this is not traditional prose!
While cellphone fiction isn't exactly haiku, a certain conservation of space and language is needed to keep things running smoothly. If you've already written a manuscript, odds are it's not going to work out as a cellphone novel. Feeding a 10,000 word chapter (which we're sure is very lovely all the same) line by line, ten lines a day, would be tedious and boring. These stories are to be written dynamically and consumed on the run. Even in Japanese, a language with pictographic characters that make it friendlier to this form, sentences are short, and most lines are dialogue.

It's also worth noting that you may acquire new readers even after the story is nearly half finished. We recommend keeping the story so far on a public page like a blog so that people can catch up, or revisit old chapters.

Always use your phones wisely!
This means not overloading yourself on stories and burying yourself in texts, turning on manner mode in situations that warrant it, and not giving your number out to unfamiliar people. Always try to exercise good judgment, because the mods won't apologize if you forget your ringer and start receiving chapters in your statistics class.

Wikipedia Entry on Cell Novels
Includes a brief history, as well as some success stories and more explanation of the form's quirks.
Currently the most appropriate, widely usable platform for reading and writing stories on your phone.
List of Twitter clones
From the Twitter Fan Wiki. If you can't use Twitter for whatever reason, many of these services are roughly equivalent. However, make sure to check if they're SMS compatible.
Cell Novel Characteristics
Further exploration/explanation of the form's restrictions and common characteristics. A good primer for the interested.

New members, please fill out the following information and post it to the community in your first post. If any of the information changes, please make note of it in the comm. For example, if you don't have a blog for your story when you first join, make sure to let us know if you get one!

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cell phone fiction, cell phone novels, cell phones, cellphone fiction, cellphone novels, cellphones, fanfiction, fiction, keitai shousetsu, mobile blogging, mobile phones, reading, twitter, twitter novels, writing, 携帯小説
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