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article imageMini stories to appear on Serial Box with 150 character limits

By Ken Hanly     Jun 30, 2018 in Internet
Serial Box, a startup publisher, decided a couple of years ago to publish stories in a somewhat different way. It would take a long story and divide it into shorter more manageable stories written by a writing team.
Serial Box is now venturing on a new scheme to publish even shorter stories using push notifications.
The new mini stories
Since it began, Serial Box has released a number of serials including "The Witch Who Came in From the Cold". This is a fantasy spy thriller set during the Cold War. The stories are structured somewhat like a TV series the entire story playing out through a dozen more or less short episodes. The Serial Box site is here.
However in a blog post the Serial Box announced that starting on July 9th they are launching what they call Microfiction Mondays. Each week, the Serial Box app users will get a push notification containing a tiny story that will be no longer than 150 characters length authored by some from the pool of authors who have worked on the company's serials. Push notifications are messages that pop up on a mobile device. They look like SMS text messages and mobile alerts but they will only reach users who have installed the app associated with the notification.
The micro stories will appear only in the push notification not anywhere else on the Serial Box site. Those who have the app downloaded will need to turn on notifications in order to receive the stories. The aim is to get stories to people, even if they have almost no time to spend on reading stories.
The stories may be similar to some that are published now on Twitter that must keep things brief because of the character limit. The classic example of a mini story is attributed to Ernest Hemingway: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn".
Mini Stories on Twitter
Some authors have been using twitter as a medium for telling short stories but often in a series in which separate tweets operate much as part of a series. Award-winning author David Mitchell is authoring a new short story. As a recent article describes the process: "Over the past four days, Mitchell has intermittently posted tweets from the perspective of his narrator, an obsessive stalker and hacker. The story is told in the style of slang-filled tweets, rather than 140-character snippets of narrative. But the Twitter handle @I_Bombadil is a reference to a Tolkien character, and there are frequent cultural allusions amid the hashtags and emojis."
Melissa Terras, professor of Digital Humanities at University College London, notes that every literary medium has some kind of constraint, and Twitter is simply the latest restriction:“It’s the role of literature to play with forms. In poetry you have very rigid forms, and people have to operate within those constraints. With Twitter fiction, people are taking the limitation of 140 characters and doing something creative. It’s a slightly different artform and it creates a different experience of fiction.”
The Serial Box is doing something similar with its push notification mini stories.
More about Serial Box, Twitter, mini stories
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