What Is Neat Prose?

I cannot buy books where I live. I am forced to choose between a new wave book chain that sidelines serious literature for board games and YA. Or a used bookstore that caters only only to the old and dusty. I live in a veritable book desert, and I wonder if literature will ever survive here. Kurt Vonnegut once said “you don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” There are fewer readers now in book deserts like the one I live in, and they will dry up.

I don’t believe there is a new form of online literature out there that can take the place of publishing. Which is why I need to invent one. Fan fiction, for example, depends entirely on published works.  It cannot survive without those characters. Fan fiction also sneaks readers away from publishing to the free works that can be read online. So, it is part of the problem. Social media, blogging, texting, YouTube, and on demand television are all serious time munchers. Fan fiction is also dread competition for actual books. Such is the amateur society that encompasses us.

I don’t aim to write fan fiction on this site. Fan fiction tends to be written mostly for women, anyway, and I would like to bring both men and women here. I would also like to create my own characters and not piggyback on another author’s work. But at the same time, I like the sexuality in fan fiction. I also like the breeziness with which it is written, which is a quality that lends itself to Internet writing. I would not write anything too dense here. However, I would want to retain a sense of professionalism. There are too many bad stories on the Web.

Internet prose should be short. Flash fiction is an ideal length for the new kind of online literature. Rather than writing epics, I would write stories that that could be read on-the-g0. Flash fiction has never found any profitable avenue since the form was popularized about a decade ago. It is written mostly for promotional reasons, not for any serious hopes of compensation. Flash fiction has the potential to make money. And as suitable as it is for Internet reading, there is no reason why it shouldn’t.

I’ll confess, neat prose isn’t about neat, or “tidy” prose. The idea came to me when thinking about a shot of liquor. It’s neat. There’s no bulk. It’s straight and to the point. And it comes in just the right size. Internet prose should have this brevity to it. No one wants to spend an hour reading a story online. They don’t want to struggle through dense, challenging sentences on their phones or laptops. That’s why online lit mags keep disappearing. This will be a different kind of lit mag. Blogs never feature fiction, buy why shouldn’t they? Why not publish flash fiction on a blog?

As soon as I can develop something, I will begin to post my stories. I offer invitations to men and women, but not children. I will not write anything YA. No teen romance. Nothing of that sort. I will not go on Twitter and make enticing posts to market my blog. I don’t know how anyone will even find this blog, or read any of these words. I just want to write something.



One thought on “What Is Neat Prose?

  1. Good for you and good luck. I post flash fiction every day. I love the challenge of flash fiction, of extracting as much meaning from as few words as possible. Cutting to the chase. Last night I cut a 500-word story down to 300 words and lost virtually nothing. Very cathartic 🙂


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