I heard about this a couple of weeks ago; it seems to have started in Japan, and may be gaining some ground. Check out this article (Literary Devices) on the CBC Arts & Entertainment site:
these innovative and ambitious works were written entirely on cellphone keypads and published, sentence by sentence, on mobile-social publishing sites like Maho i-Land (Magic Island). As on Twitter, Japanese readers can choose particular authors to “follow,” and then get the bite-size story updates as the writer uploads them. Eventually, the novel is complete, but the demand keeps growing, as readers tell other readers.
Isn’t that interesting? And I thought Seth Harwood had gotten his novel out there in an interesting way.
Reading through the article, I’m kind of not surprised to hear about some of the themes in the novels, which can sometimes be quite violent. It’s the same thing you find in anime and manga. But I bet you find this kind of novel-writing starting to spread in exactly the same way those two mediums did. The Japanese do the innovating, and the rest of us do the adopting.
The article asks, “Could something like Twitter host Canada’s next great literary trend?” To which my answer would be, “Of course.” I’ve already seen a Religious Studies professor trying to educate his Twitter followers with summaries of each great religion in 140 characters. And we’ve already got Penguin planning that Twitterature book, with the classics of literature done in tweets. So yes, I think we’ll see English novels composed on Twitter or cellphone too.
Actually, um. If I can find the time, in the midst of my current writing and editing swamp, I’ve actually been planning to tweet one of my own novels on Twitter. That is, I’ll tweet summaries, and then post the chapters online. But it was already written a few years ago. I don’t know if I’ll compose an entire novel on Twitter.