Success and Failure in Online Writing

Black Box by Jennifer Egan is, as I understand it, a novelette released Tweet by Tweet. It seems to have been written Tweet by Tweet too.

I can’t imagine that it was written over the same ten days that it was released within even though I could have done that. Sure, my effort would be as good as this, but I could have done it. Saying that, I perceive this to be good but I’m not entirely convinced that it really is. Perhaps I’m just going on the premise that it’s good because it was written by a famous author.

Actually, I only gave it three stars out of five on Goodreads so perhaps I don’t think it was that good. It wasn’t such an easy read. There was a disjointed feel to it that, I suppose, came from the chopped up nature.

It’s funny how reading something in that style makes me want to write in that style now. I am struggling to reassert a hypotactic style that string together clauses into something coherent and whole that can entertain as well as inform. There’s a lesson there if you’re wondering how to imitate another author’s style.

So yeah – it’s not very pretty to read. It’s a disjointed thing. It tells a story but the story seems false somehow; like cornflakes made out of cheese paste.

Verdict: limited success.


Jennifer’s tale is a whole heck better than Letter to Linus by William Gillespie. Basically, it’s a prose experiment in several parts with seemingly random links between them. I think that I might possibly have read all the available words in that ‘story’ but not in the right order. I kept wanting to extract it all and sort it into the correct order so that I could make sense of it but the individual parts of the text were not interesting enough for me to want to do that. Enough said.

Verdict: fail.

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