Friday, February 8, 2013

Word Machine

While I agree with Vicki that the medium should not be the message, various mediums can challenge us to write to them if only to experiment with form and content.   Now don’t get me wrong, the story us writers write is the story, no doubt.  But there is something to what that editor she noted had to say regarding short sentences and simple words to fit the format of the screen.  Conceptually for the writer his statement smacks of what happens when the wonks take over from the editors. 
For instance, a short storey has certain requirements, length being a major factor, that dictates how the story is written – what’s included and what’s not.  Writing my blog posts I’m cognizant of not wanting them to be too wordy, punchy, and try to make my points quick and declarative.
There have been writers who’ve written stories using only the 140 characters per tweet limit of twitter.  Earnest Hemingway’s classic short, short, “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn,” is sited as inspiration.  Comedy writer Justin Halpern has to move back in with his folks.  He tweets of the funny bon mots his father riffed off became the collection Sh*t My Dad Says, and a sitcom, a short lived sitcom, but a sitcom nonetheless.   "The worst thing you can be is a liar. . . .Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two."
Flash fiction continues to be written ine sites and for a time there was a short story publisher who published their stories specifically for cell phones before the advent of the smart phone and the larger screen.  In fact I did a reading not too long ago where one of the writers read her work on the screen of her phone.  E-books do allow for a lot of junk out there, but has also ushered in a new era of pulp in the form of 25,000 words or so new novellas and short story anthologies of revived (and in public domain) characters like the Green Lama, the first Buddhist super hero from the ‘40s, and new characters as charted on sites like All Pulp.    
For me then, I just want to get my work out there, and game to try whatever format that will have me.  Yes, personally I prefer the paper book but even I, a semi-Luddite, have read material on the Kindle.  This is the Kindle my wife got me a couple of Christmases ago and as she got tired of me not firing it up, she’s appropriated the device and now I borrow it.  Yet currently I have an e-book novella, the Essex Man, in the publishing queue   In the vein of new pulp, he’s an over-the-top action-adventure hero I hope will be the first in a series of e-books, then collected hardcopies done print-on-demand of the character.   
So until the big “They” create the machine to write creatively, which I’m sure some geek is working on, I’ll keep sweating away on my stories.  Right now though, must write good for my robot overlords…entertain…entertain…entertain…

1 comment:

barry knister said...

This is my first visit to Criminal Minds, and I'm sure I'll be dropping by often. Two things: First, I really don't see how message can be disentangled from medium. For instance, those who don't master the writing basics--the print medium--damage whatever message they want to convey each time they make a mistake. Second, I, too, am something of a Luddite. But against my will, I am enjoying reading on my new Kindle. If I weren't about to publish a Kindle mystery, I probably wouldn't have bought the thing, but now I'm glad I did.