TOKYO -- When Satomi Nakamura uses her cellphone, she has to be extra careful to take frequent breaks. That's because she isn't just chatting. The 22-year-old homemaker has recently finished writing a 200-page novel titled "To Love You Again" entirely on her tiny cellphone screen, using her right thumb to tap the keys and her pinkie to hold the phone steady. She got so carried away last month that she broke a blood vessel on her right little finger.
It's not even her first novel. She's written eight novels on her cell phone, and has serialized them on the internet. But that wasn't the most surprising thing in the article. Apparently these little, uh, phone books are wildly popular. And take a look at this:
Many mobile novels are influenced by comic books the young writers grew up reading. That means lots of dialogue and really short paragraphs that fit nicely on a small screen. Huge empty spaces between sentences can convey that the characters are deep in thought.
Which encourages the reader, I suppose, to fill in some of those blanks with thoughts of her own. I can see how that kind of interactivity would catch on. And this sounds like much more than just a new format for novels. It appears to be a new form.
The trick is to envision a movie screen inside your head and translate those images into words, says Ms. Nakamura, the housewife with the sore pinkie.
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