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This Week: Open Letters to Punctuation Marks, Jane Austen’s Fight Club & More

By JK Evanczuk on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - View Comments

Open letters to punctuation marks.

Ships that pass is a Tumblr of “fake, imagined, and literary missed connections posted to Craigslist and then re-posted here with real and actual responses to fake, imagined, and literary missed connections.”

Alex Epstein’s 3 micro stories over at The Outlet are worth a read.

“This is Just to Say That I’m Tired of Sharing an Apartment With William Carlos Williams.”

An interesting note on who reads bestsellers from The Rumpus:

“A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.”

The Nervous Breakdown talks experimental fiction.

Aaaand because this is so SCRUMPTIOUS that I have no choice but to share, here is…Jane Austen’s Fight Club: Read more »

This Week: the World’s Tiniest Literary Magazine, the Longest Novels of All Time Summarized in 140 Characters or Less

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - View Comments

The smallest literary magazine ever? Matchbook Story is a lit mag published inside, you guessed it, a book of matches, with only enough room for a 300-character story.

The longest novels of all time, summarized in 140 characters or less.

Can poetry deter kleptomaniacs?

If you’re a writer, avoid these professions for your day job.

Unexpected literary references in “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” “Looney Tunes,” and other animated TV shows, via.

You’re never too old to start writing. Case in point: an 82-year-old woman has just landed a 3-book deal this week. Take that, infamous “20 under 40″ list.

Here are some stories The Rumpus’s Seth Fischer likes. I like them too.

Image: Bruce Willey.

A Guide to Interesting Twitter Fiction Projects, Past and Present

By JK Evanczuk on Monday, November 30, 2009 - Comments Off

Twitter is not especially well-known for fiction. But maybe that will change. Writers are embracing Twitter for the creative challenge imposed by its 140-character limit, for its real-time functionality, and for its interactivity. Twitterature, or Twiction, or whatever else you’d like to call it, is not just a means of reaching today’s ADD-raddled reader–it’s a new medium entirely, spawning new ways to create and interact with fiction.

So without further ado, here’s a short guide to try innovative and interesting Twitter fiction projects, past and present:

@ElectricLit

Electric Literature’s highly anticipated “microserialization” of Rick Moody’s novel begins today, and is definitely worth a read. Rather than chopping up a pre-written story into 140-character bursts as many other Twitter novelists tend to do, Moody wrote his novel Some Contemporary Characters expressly for Twitter and embraced the character limit as a source of creative inspiration. Each section of the novel comes every 10 minutes and lasts until December 2nd.

Bloomsday

Last Bloomsday, two Ulysses enthusiasts took the novel’s 10th chapter, Wandering Rocks, and retraced all the events of that day on Twitter. Videogame designers Ian Bogost and Ian McCarthy registered 54 of the novel’s characters as Twitter users, who all Tweeted about what they were doing on June 16, 1904 at the correct fictional times. (Old project, since June 16 is long past at this point, but still worth a read. Here’s hoping Bogost and McCarthy will revive the project in some way next Bloomsday.)

The Twitter of Oz

Read more »

Midweek Pick-Me-Up: Banned Books Week Edition!

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - Comments Off

This week: Banned Books Week, R.L. Stine, literary recommendations, and some witchcraft, after the jump. Read more »

On Throwing Out the Rules and Making Stuff Up

By JK Evanczuk on Thursday, September 24, 2009 - Comments Off

Magic: The GatheringThe Expressive Intelligence Studio blog has a new post up about the roleplaying card game Magic: The Gathering, which made me feel nostalgic in an odd sort of way. Because while I did enjoy the game in its heyday, I had a very different experience with it because I never actually bothered to learn the rules of the game. I was inspired by the art on the cards and bored by the scoring system, and so instead came up with a new set of rules entirely (which I don’t remember at all now). I taught them to my friends and we played informal tournaments with each other at home, at school, wherever.

Like pretty much everyone ever, I have a certain fascination with my childhood, largely in part because I had no qualms whatsoever about turning up my nose at the so-called rules and inventing my own. No matter how silly or irrational they may have seemed. And because of this fearlessness (or, if you like, naivet?), the artifacts of my childhood consist of horribly-drawn comics, short stories plagiarized from my favorite novels, and scripts for movies I planned to make, camera be damned. I even convinced some of my friends to participate in an original musical about gang warfare, which wasn’t a fraction as hilarious to me then as it is to me now. Sure, I might not have had the necessary knowledge to write about such a subject, being a preteen girl from the suburbs of New Jersey. Sure, I might not have been the best candidate to compose the original score, not being able to actually play any musical instruments. But who cared? I was going to write as much of the musical as I could, and rehearse with my friends as much as I could, and have a blast doing it.

While I am thrilled beyond compare that I can (fairly) confidently say that I’m a better writer now than I was at 10 or 12, and that my ideas now actually come to fruition, I feel like there’s something I’ve lost. Read more »

More: Rants, Writing

50 Stories Under 50 Words

By JK Evanczuk on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - Comments Off
An excellent photo of Hemingway kicking a can, via kottke.org

An excellent photo of Hemingway kicking a can, via kottke.org

In 1920, Ernest Hemingway’s colleagues bet him that he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. Being Hemingway and all, he found a way. His colleagues paid up. Hemingway considered the story his best work:

“For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

Ninety years later, the rise of the Internet along with countless creative writing classes have turned the spirit of Hemingway’s story into an entirely new genre. Microfiction now comes in a variety of flavors: 6-word stories, 25-word stories, 50-word stories, 100-word stories, 140-character stories (aha Twitter, we meet again!). Leo Tolstoy and Ayn Rand, proud sharers of the “world’s longest novel” title, would be appalled. Probably.

But short doesn’t necessarily mean “incomplete.” It’s fascinating to see how much writers can achieve with so few words. Character, conflict, resolution–it’s all there, and in less time than it takes you to turn the page. And so for your reading pleasure here are 49 more stories under 50 words, including some by Joss Whedon, John Updike, and Margaret Atwood, after the jump.

Read more »