Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is Less More, More Or Less?

There's an interesting post called "You've Got Thirty Pages" on the Melville House Publishing website talking about our addiction to amusement and our society's evolution into a desire to be entertained in short snippets of time.

The Melville House  "Art of the Novella" series - photo from their blog
The demand for readers in particular to be entertained in short "dips" in and out might just be a reflection of our continual rapid-fire changing between one source of incoming info and the next (as discussed in Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains)

It's one of the reasons why I've been experimenting with trying to push out short fiction in digital format (ie, the straight to digital launch of my short story Spirits a couple of weeks ago) - I'm curious to see what the uptake is on that as compared to my book-length works.

I'm also rather curious to see where this trend leads and if it ends up making the experience of actually being absorbed with reading so much that falling completely into a book is that much MORE of a luxurious and wonderfully unique experience than ever before (For that percentage of the population who can still enjoy that, of course)

But alas, based on the assumed average modern person's attention span, I've likely already gone on too long.

How many of you have bothered to read right through to the end of this post? More importantly what's your sense of having possibly missed something else while focusing on reading this?


Steph said...

I read to the end and didn't feel as though I was missing out on something else: but that was perhaps mostly because this interests me as an advocate for short fiction.

Because I definitely struggle with feeling I've got to be doing a million things at once in case I miss something. And I think part of the reason my short story table is doing well at work is because of my sign, which addresses people's lack of time or desire for lighter fiction in summer.

This shorter attention span may indeed be the thing for getting more people reading short stories. Though I still meet with quite a bit of resistance; they cite what they feel is a lack of substance, or not getting their money's worth if it's not a big novel.

Mark Leslie said...

Thanks for the comment, Steph. It's nice to know at least one someone read it to the end. :)

And as I'm sure you know, I'll steal your awesome idea for the short story table in the store.