Writing transforms

A few days ago NPR did a story on “How E-Books Will Change Reading and Writing.” I don’t think I’ll ever attempt a Twitter novel or a cell phone book (um, I can barely text “hi how r u?”) but I agree that technology is affecting the way people think, and thus how we read and write. Actually, Twenty-Somewhere was partly an experiment to tap into that — could I write short, fun episodes for the web? I could, and I did. But I’m glad to say that 20SW turned into something much more, at least for me.

20SW reminded me that writing should always, always be fun. If I’m not laughing along with my characters, or naming inanimate objects after them (my iPod Touch is Reggie!), then how can I expect readers to enjoy them or care?

20SW helped me realize that right now, I am more in tune with and affected by issues that people face in their teens and twenties. There’s so much that happens during those years, good and bad. I’ve always thought it was a pivotal time (hello, being an RA?) so why not use my writing to convey that?

Best of all, 20SW became a way for me to connect with people. One friend emailed me to say she’d absolutely cracked up at my jokes (which was a great boost to my self-confidence ’cause I’m not that funny of a person). One friend chatted with me about how to make certain aspects of the story more believable. My mom told me she thought 20SW was the best writing I’d done (at least that she’d read). Lots of people just nagged me (in the best possible sense of the word) to put up more episodes already. (Sorry!)

Each of these interactions really enriched the process of writing 20SW for me, and brought me closer to people in a way that I definitely didn’t expect. Maybe those people didn’t all feel the same way, but I know for a fact that a couple of them did. That more than anything else makes 20SW special to me.

Technology might be changing the way we read and write, but as long as reading and writing still have the power to change us, I think we’ll be okay.

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12 Comments

  1. A Twitter novel? Oh my, that sounds like an awful lot of work. I’m glad that 20SW has given you so much, though. It’s amazing how we can do something just for the joy of doing it and not with an agenda, and that thing can turn out to give us what our schemes failed to.
    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: OMG it’s a new decade in the 2000s =-.

  2. I’m not dissing your Kindle series, because I think it’s important for writers to try new mediums. But I don’t think anyone could pay me enough to use a Kindle, or read a book on my laptop, or on my cell phone… I don’t care what they say about technology: nothing will ever beat the sound of a new spine cracking, the smell of freshly printed pages, and the feel of a hardcover in my hands.
    .-= • Recent post by Michelle: How to remove carpet indentations =-.

  3. Sonja-
    Yeah, it really is amazing. :)

    Michelle-
    No offense taken. I have to admit, I prefer real books to digital, but there’s also a convenience to reading on my computer or iPod Touch that I can appreciate. But, publishing via Kindle was definitely an experiment. My goal is definitely to be published in hardcopy. Hopefully you can enjoy the sound and smell of one of my books someday! :)

  4. Well said, and I completely agree. Although, I think, for myself at least, it would be hard for me to every blog or twitter a novel. And yes, it it something that I’ve read about several people doing, but what I really want to know is why exactly are they doing it? What do they get out of it?

  5. I think people just try this stuff to take advantage of new mediums. Apparently the cell phone novels are really popular in Japan (where people LOVE their cell phones and use them for everything all the time) and are primarily written by/for women.

  6. Wow. I couldn’t imagine trying to read a novel via cell phone. I get frustrated just trying to use my mobile web. I’m not sure I would have the patience, but it is very interesting to see how technology is changing everything. I guess I should keep up with the times, but I like my books he old-fashioned way: paper and ink. : )

  7. Jon

    I think technology has opened up so many options for the author–it’s crazy! Who needs a book deal now that we have blogs? You used to have to wait centuries to reach so many people!

    Of course, the marketing of the majors could help, and who doesn’t want their novel in print?
    .-= • Recent post by Jon: Quickie Review: The Tonight Show =-.

  8. Kimberly-
    Depends how big the screen & type are… But yes, real books are still easier for me. (And more fun!)

    Jon-
    I agree: technology IS opening up options for writers, so it’s a bit silly of us to be so wary or antagonistic of it. I think the real solution is to find out how to take the best of technology to either improve or work with our current methods.

  9. When you say ‘RA,’ do you mean a college resident assistant/advisor? If so, I have to say that I saw and experienced a lot of ‘pivotal’ moments while I held that position as well. I’m not sure that they deserve to be documented in writing. (Though many were in incident reports…ha.)

    I think the joy of reading and writing is unmatched & I completely agree with your last statement. It’s great that technology is creating new mediums for writers to put their works out into the world, but the ink-on-paper reader side of me just isn’t interested in reading a whole novel on a digital screen. My PC/internet addiction has done enough damage to my ears and wrists as is…lol. Plus, I have a fear of the over-saturation that comes with tech advances; poor quality writing overtaking “the good stuff.” (Sometimes, I also fear I’m contributing to this.) I suppose it’s just another matter of opinion.
    .-= • Recent post by Torie Michelle: Artist Evolution | Robin Thicke =-.

  10. Yeah, that kind of RA. And, haha, I didn’t mean that I would write fiction about my time as an RA. (Although my boyfriend did that: http://www.newhouse5.com/ ) Just that helping people my age and younger was always a passion of mine (being an RA, volunteering as a tutor, working at with children at the art museum, etc.) so why shouldn’t that be translated into my writing?

  11. In grad school we are always talking about the way technology is changing the way we read. Not all of us like it, but it comes down to the fact that you can either embrace it and try to find your place within it or you can get left by the roadside. I don’t love the idea of twitter novels or cell phone novels, I too am one that can barely text. I will probably never like kindles etc but then there are web based literary journals or podcast readings, there are author’s blogs all great things I can get behind. And as you say it opens so many avenues of how we can write and read and be moved.

    By the way The Whistling Fire is having a theme month all February to celebrate our first anniversary, you should check it out.

  12. Exactly, Lauren. Exactly.

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