By Mark Antony Rossi
During the past century nothing that matters in our lives has stayed the same.
Yet there are those in literature who prefer to cling to the past and attempt to judge others by using standards restricted by structural limitations. Writing too must change.
Whether for the better or not the digital arrival of everything in our lives from common photos to movies streamed on smart phones has severely reduced our attention span. Without catchy artwork and snappy product description anything sold online from books to cars has less than three seconds to attract suitable interest.
In the areas of literary pursuit three areas have had a noticeably almost revolutionary change in the past one hundred fifty years.
Poetic verse has shifted from rhyming couplets to free verse. It is now nearly impossible to write a rhyming poem without sounding like a cliché-ridden mess. This development might be best for present day reading. I like my poetry to appear written in the real moment rather than a magic mushroom trip of psychedelic proportions.
2. Short Story
The short story in an ironic twist has become shorter. It has also lost most if not all of its former dialogue. It’s highly likely this reduction is a direct result of the shorter attention spans of the new generations. Call it an evolution or a realistic redaction but the longing for brevity has infused the modern short story with a sense of urgency that much longer versions of yesteryear sorely lacked. The eternal problem of length is the tendency to meander on with unnecessary chatter or character background that appears made for length than reader imagination.
3. Flash Fiction
Flash fiction is not akin to the shorter short story phenomena since flash is a creature entirely belonging to another category. The advent of flash was an invention waiting to happen and is a natural byproduct of the habits of a modern age getting to the point in a hurry. In a strange connection modern marketing also played a role in flash fiction because the storyboard approach to a marketing campaign reflects the general construction of a solid flash fiction piece.
Obviously, these are not the only changes to writing in the past hundred years but I wanted to briefly discuss the literary changes to writing itself. I expect as the years move forward we will see more changes to books, plays and writing strictly held in the electronic realm. As with all epochs, centuries and decades I continue to wish writers to make their mark in an expanding medium so as to not be superseded by the superficial imagery that can mask for meaning.