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Short Attention Span Theater February 9, 2010

Posted by bobv451 in web & computers, writing.

No, not the Comedy Central show but real life. Talking to Scott (insightStraight on MySpace) he related a story about a kid writing a research paper. One paragraph, e-mail, write another paragraph, quick video game, surf a little, Facebook, write a paragraph, answer cell phone. Conversation was the usual “Not much, what you doing?” The paper came out, gosh who woulda thunk it?, choppy and virtually incoherent because he lacked transitions between the paragraphs or even a thread running through it all. The kid saw nothing wrong with this. He was probably right because whoever read it would do so following the same pattern in which it was written.

Most won’t notice, being so instantly at the beck and call of everyone else in the world through social networking, e-mail and cell calls. Those take precedence over whatever he was doing. As a result, even if he didn’t have it, he acted as if he had ADD. No single activity took long before the “woof, look, a squirrel” took over. The kid thought he was productive though probably didn’t use the archaic term multi-tasking.

I suspect enough research has been done now to show that multi-tasking means mediocrity at best on a lot of things simultaneously.

How does this translate to writing? Like fiction writing. For entertainment. Michael Stackpole has it right. Serial fiction. Write a novel one chapter at a time and publish it that way, just like Charles Dickens did in numerous magazines waaay back when. Finish the book, glue it together for those able to read longer than 30 seconds before some electronic distraction drags them away. This way appeals to both sides of the electronic generational divide. Luckily, the cause of such voluntary ADD is also the way to profit. E-books reach the very audience a writer should want for serialized fiction.

Excuse me. Haven’t checked my e-mail for 5 minutes and Facebook needs posting. So does MySpace and Twitter–pet the cat–and where’d I put my cell phone?



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