Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shorter than short stories. Srsly.

My friend and fellow writer, Rachel, recently posted this on her blog about the effects of Facebook on one's life, especially as it relates to writing. I agree 100% with her and it really depresses me.

As she notes, before Facebook, I would sit down and compose a well-thought out (well, partially thought out) entry about writing or life or something involving the number 4. I would attempt to enlighten or entertain readers and myself in some way. I might add some hyperlinks to other sources or a photo or 2 if they were appropriate and I could find them for free and the result would be a mini-story, a glimpse into a portion of my life or brain or celebrity sighting.

But now, with my reliance on Facebook, everything becomes a sound byte. Rather than an entire essay, it's only 140 characters - usually less cuz, ya know, that's a lot of characters. I often use LOL or srsly or some other acronym to make my entry even less literary.

And what does that mean for my writing? Well, for one thing, I skip around a lot. I don't develop things the way I should. Facebook relies on people knowing a shorthand of sorts, whether it's current events, music lyrics, or an agreed-upon history. I don't have to tell the whole story because my Facebook friends know the backstory already.

I'm between drafts of a book right now, which usually means it's time to write a short story. I'm finding, however, that as I develop the outline, I'm trying to rush to the end without spending any time in the middle, with the stuff that actually happens. And I realized that this is the Facebook Effect: just get to the end.

Rachel says she's going on a FB diet. Maybe I should try that too. Srsly.