Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Teens with Literary Leanings

What's the next big thing for teenagers on the Internet who like to read and write? According to a NYT's article Figment.com may be it.

I really went into it and thought, ‘We’ll be the social network for young-adult fiction,’ ” said Mr. Lewis, a former managing editor of The New Yorker. “But it became clear early on that people didn’t want a new Facebook.”

The young people on the site weren’t much interested in “friending” one another. What they did want, he said, “was to read and write and discover new content, but around the content itself.”

Figment was unveiled on Monday as an experiment in online literature, a free platform for young people to read and write fiction, both on their computers and on their cellphones. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site.

“We wanted people to be able to write whatever they wanted in whatever form they wanted,” Mr. Lewis said. “We give them a piece of paper and say, ‘Go.’ ” He added that so far contributions had included fantasy, science fiction, biographical work and long serial novels. “There’s a very earnest and exacting quality to what they’re doing.”

Moreover, the site may be a convenient place for publishers to scout for talented young writers. One publisher said, “The teen culture is a constantly moving target. We’re looking for partners who are deeply embedded in the way teens interact.”

As a retired high school English teacher, I can appreciate what motivates teens to read and write. If they are like many adults, they may find a catalyst at sites like this. What figments of their imagination may be shared?