The Gabriella Lukacs article discusses cell phone novels in Japan. This was the first I had heard about cell phone novels, so this was an interesting read for me.
In summary, cell phone novels are novels written in parts, or chapters, and distributed for reading on cell phones. They are often written by the younger generation, for the younger generation.
The writers of the cell phone novels don’t see it as a pass time (since they aren't paid it isn't considered a job), but as hard work. The novels became popular as the young generation of the 1990s were having trouble finding employment in a recession. These young people would work temporary jobs, and as a result didn’t feel the close knit community support their parents felt from more stable jobs. The writers say that not only is writing the novels rewarding, but the relationship with their readers is also rewarding.
The cell phone novel industry takes advantage of the fact that these young people are struggling to find work that is meaningful to them. It encourages them to publish novels on their sites. The cell phone novel companies make money by having advertisements on their pages, and by not paying the authors who submit their stories.
The novels give the readers a chance to influence the stories, since they are generally published a chapter at a time. Reader feedback not only can influence how the author will write the story, but the novel sites hope that those that commenters on stories will begin to write their own stories. In reality, only a few writers have their novels printed, which is the only way to make a living from writing cell phone novels.
The stories rarely have a happy ending. Then they have an epilogue details the author’s present day life. They often promote values such as living meaningful lives, being positive about the future and connecting with others. These novels develop something known as the “intimate public” a new way of finding community and of feeling like one belongs.
As a career writing cell phone novels is not a promising choice for people, it is hard to make money at it. But that doesn’t seem to be the only purpose of these novels. The writers and readers again a sense of community and belonging by reading and commenting on each others' stories.
(sorry about the weird formatting, I can't fix it, no matter what I try!)