Tuesday News: Pokémon Go, the ideal sentence, and unexpected effects of viral posts
Pokémon Go and the evolution of publishing treasure hunts – With an average of 7 million downloads A DAY, Pokémon Go has made location-based gaming bigger and more popular than ever before. But according to Guy Gadney, the game also has the potential to change the future of publishing, as new media affects the way stories can be told and experienced:
Pokémon Go has taught the world how to play with virtual, fictional overlays onto the real world. Imagine how many stories fit into this mold. Ghost stories that bring the spirit world alive through an augmented reality lens, crime classics that recruit you as the local detective. Imagine John Wyndham’s classic where triffids lurk virtually on street corners, where you forage for virtual clothing, food and triffid bolts. Alliances with other players – mirroring the book’s story – would sustain the game indefinitely bringing The Day of the Triffids up to date, and perhaps Wyndham would have enjoyed writing it even more than the book. As with Masquerade, the real world has become a playground for stories.
When new media emerge, we adapt existing stories and structures we are already comfortable with before we start writing for that medium natively. Thus early websites were electronic brochures and early apps were websites. As Marshall McLuhan said: “We look at the future through a rear view mirror”. Pokémon Go’s focus is not on story, but the platform does hint at what future stories could be. – The Bookseller
This Facebook group is playing Pokémon Go with books – Serendipitously, I also ran across this article on a Belgian teacher who started a Pokémon Go-type game with books when she realized that she needed to give away some books and wanted to share her love of reading with others. Her Facebook group already has 50K members, and can be replicated in pretty much any location.
Aveline Gregoire set up a Facebook group a few weeks ago, called Chasseurs de livres (“Book hunters”). Members post photos and hints about where they’ve hidden a book, so others can look for them. Once you find and finish reading the book you’ve found, you can “release” it back into the wild for other players to stumble upon. – The Next Web
Simplicity or style: what makes a sentence a masterpiece? – A short but sweet contemplation by Jenny Davidson on the perfect sentence. She looks at a variety of opening lines, noting that each book’s first sentence is an “invitation into a new world.” But is a great sentence long and complex or short and simply written? There is no objective answer, of course, but it’s a worthy question to contemplate as a function of individual taste.
Over a lifetime of reading, people form their own individual canon of great sentences. My canon is full of Jane Austen, whose balance of aphoristic wit, psychological insight and narrative pacing is unique. The first sentence of Pride and Prejudice (1813) is probably her best-known line: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ However, I have always preferred the opening line of Emma written two years later: ‘Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.’ It has the cadence almost of a fairytale, only the verb ‘seemed’ and the ostentatiously positive sequence of traits (‘handsome, clever, and rich’) hint that the novel will go on to undermine its opening assertion. – Aeon
I Wrote About Giving Up a $95,000 Job to Move to an Island and Scoop Ice Cream. I Wasn’t Prepared for the Response. – I suspect that many writers can relate to Noelle Hancock’s experience – not as a woman who gave up a career in New York City for life on St. John, but as a writer gingerly returning to her craft, thrust unprepared into the maelstrom created by her unexpectedly viral post.
Hundreds of Facebook messages from strangers flooded my inbox. People asked for advice about making a major life change. People asked me to call them. People asked if they could come stay with me. Publications produced articles about my article. The Daily Mail’s site published a story about me, complete with a selfie of me with my tongue sticking out I took on a friend’s phone as a joke when she wasn’t looking. They’d found the photo on her Facebook page and published it without permission. Within 24 hours, a writer for Elle.com published a rebuttal titled “Sorry, I Don’t Want to Quit My Job and Move to an Island.” Then there’s that craven, lawless grotto known as The Comments Section.
A curious thing happened when the world moved online – suddenly everyone became a published writer, but everyone became a critic as well. Maybe that’s why I shrank away from writing? I couldn’t handle the new reality in which everything I created would be torn apart immediately by hundreds of people – and the tearing down also witnessed by hundreds of people. – Cosmopolitan/Yahoo