Ello Novel Launched by Writer of First Twitter Novel
In April of 2008, I began an experiment to write the first Twitter novel, “Small Places.” Now I’m fusing technology and literature in the first Ello novel, “So Long,” illustrated by New York artist Siyi Chen.
I’m actually now in PHASE TWO of the project and happy to say it has been chosen by Quirk Books as one of the 10 Literary Social Media Accounts For Bookish People To Follow.
I completed “Small Places” in 2010 in just over 900 tweets. It was in the top 100 most popular Twitter profiles in the world and was covered in the U.K. Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, Mashable, Metroactive, Reuters, AL.com, The Bohemian and more. It has been used in college curriculum and has been discussed as one of the first examples of Twitterature (or Twitter Lit). When I was tweeting Small Places some critics argued it was only a gimmick or that social media technology couldn’t be fused with literary technique. While I don’t take all the credit, I think Small Places helped prove that social media can be used to entertain as well as to inform.
“So Long,” written for Ello one post at a time, was launched October 5, 2014, and tells the story of a young Chinese-American woman whose self-awareness is shadowed by dreams and urban explorations into the world of augmented reality games. I had been waiting for a new social media platform elegant enough that I might continue to fuse literature with technology. Ello’s simplicity with text and white space yearns to be read by others. So why not a novel?
Readers will be interested in the social commentary within the novel about augmented reality games, and how the characters realities become distorted with the real world and the game they think they’re playing.
Click here to read “So Long” on Ello (and see the illustrations), or if you would like to read the first five posts in order . . .
There’s also a DONATION PAGE to support my efforts in PHASE TWO of the project.
NICHOLAS BELARDES writes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. He is Illustrator of the New York Times best selling novel West of Here (2011), author of the first Twitter novel, Small Places (2008), the novel Lords (2005), and the poetry collection Songs of the Glue Machines (2013). His latest book is A People’s History Of The Peculiar (2014). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for interviews/questions.
SIYI CHEN is a New York based artist. Born in China, she currently explores illustration at the School of Visual Arts. She also creates hand-painted shoes and is dedicated to illustration and the imagination.