Just when I thought I was current if not ahead on all forms of electronic communication, I find out that I am woefully behind. I just learned about a new genre of writing – cell phone storytelling. 

“I’m so far behind, I think I’m first,”– Anonymous quote on my coffee cup.

Just when I thought I was current if not ahead on all forms of electronic communication, I find out that I am woefully behind. I just learned about a new genre of writing – cell phone storytelling. 

Yes, mostly young authors, but some as old as 40, are writing novels on their mobile phones and using flying dexterous thumbs that defy understanding.

Granted this is happening primarily in Japan where cell phone novelists and most citizens prefer writing on their phones to typing on computers.

Still, the idea is making its way to the U.S.

As preposterous as the notion first sounded to me, I am grasping the concept better since learning that half of Japan’s best-selling novels began as cell phone stories, uploaded to Web sites, and later published in hard or soft-cover books.

A famous literary journal in Japan asked if this new genre would kill traditional authors and end writing as we know it.

Apparently not as Shigeru Matsushima, an editor at Starts Publishing, writes: “It’s not that the (young cell phone novelist) has a desire to write and that the cell phone happened to be there ... Instead, in the course of exchanging e-mail, this tool called the cell phone instilled in them a desire to write.”

An article in the New York Times, “Thumbs Race as Japan’s Best Sellers Go Cellular,” concludes that “Indeed, many cell phone novelists had never written fiction before, and many of their readers had never read novels before, according to publishers.”

So instilling the love of reading and writing works for me. More power to them, I say.

The New York Times article adds this bonus for cell phone storytellers, “Whatever their literary talents, cell phone novelists are racking up the kind of sales that most more experienced, traditional novelists can only dream of.”

One young woman, pen name Rin, was voted No. 1 in Japan with her text novel, a story of a tragic love between childhood friends. After uploading to a Web site where readers could follow as she wrote, the novel was turned into a 142-page hardcover book that sold more than 400,000 copies.

That sells me on the idea.

I am starting mine now, but I am not quite as fast as the kid writers. And there is the arthritis and the carpal tunnel to complicate the matter.

I forgot to mention that cell phone novelists use texting abbreviations, emoticons and  text smiles to tell their story as well as leaving out vivid and detailed descriptions. Plot happens fast and characters are never fully developed apparently. 

They are losing me and probably anyone over the age of 40, but, nevertheless, here’s my attempt at a beginning: 

“Brk Tskot r0d her mAr BlAz a+ the prayri n surch of wht she new she wud fnd.  Hrsh elements & Mac, the last pursn on urth she wantd 2 see this AM.”

Translation: “Brook Tescott rode her mare Blaze across the prairie in search of what she knew she would find – harsh elements and Mac (Chad McPherson, known to everyone on the Flying K Ranch and in Kenworth County as “Mac”), the last person on earth she wanted to see this morning.”

 I will let you know how my first cell phone novel is going. I may be too old for this. 

TTYL.