The society we live in is a fascinating beast. Everything evolves, everything changes, from the work we do to what we do to entertain ourselves. Take books and fiction, for example. When I was growing up, before the age of the Internet (gasp, there was such a time?) when stories were read in books and magazines, I consumed stories from a variety of sources and genres. The Hardy Brothers was a favorite in my younger years and I probably read every Biggles book available. I remember riding my bike to the library, getting the next book in the series, going home to read it and then be back a few days later for the next one. I knew the library staff well, as I’m sure you can imagine. I consumed massive amounts of fiction. I remember reading Stephen King’s It in five days, which I thought was quite a feat for 1,200 pages (or something along those lines).
These days, I’ve got my smartphone. I can read a book anytime I want to. I haven’t been to a library for myself in over a decade. I’ve got Amazon, Google and a variety of other apps ready to go at any time. Super convenient. I have found that as a result my horizons are expanding. While I still love to read a thick Tom Clancy novel or dig into the conspiracies of Dan Brown’s books, thanks to the Internet I’ve discovered the world of shorter fiction in a way I never did before. Ok so yes, maybe I’m late to the game here but quite honestly, I’ve always loved longer fiction. Stretch it out, you know, make it last, build something big.
Having said that though, short fiction is appealing in its own way. A short story can be read on a lunch break, giving you a way to indulge into another world daily. Flash fiction trims that down to reading something for every break while microfiction takes you into the world of reading a story in just a few minutes.
These shorter formats are fascinating. While Clancy spun a tale through hundreds of pages, flash fiction and micro fiction must present the plot elements in a much shorter format. The length of a flash fiction or micro fiction story seems to depend on definition. Then, there’s TaleHunt.
TaleHunt is a relatively new app that allows you to post stories that are just 250 characters. Not 250 words. 250 characters. It’s barely the length of two tweets on Twitter. For me, this takes fiction writing to a whole new level.
From exploring TaleHunt on and off for a few months, I’ve found that the tales you find varies dramatically depending on the author. Some of it is truly micro fiction but there’s also poetry and a bunch of random ramblings. One could probably say that much of it is just nonsense but that would take away from what all the TaleHunt users truly considers a special creation of their own, their unique voice into the world.
TaleHunt is pretty simple as an app. You have your own profile, similar to Twitter. All your stories are listed in “My Stories” much like tweets are on Twitter. You have your list of followers and those you follow. Then, there’s the stream of stories as well as trending stories with high number of likes. There’s also a stream that contains only stories from those that you follow.
Posting a story is simple: write the story in 250 characters or less (including spaces). Then post it and share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any other social network. In other words, it’s pretty simple.
When I initially started exploring TaleHunt, there was also a daily word prompt that popped up every day. It was a great inspiration to write. In fact, most of the stories I have posted on there are a result of these word prompts. Unfortunately, I have not seen one in the last month or so, which has resulted I reduced output from me.
Is TaleHunt worth it? Is it fun to read? Is it fun to write? For me, I find writing a story in 250 characters a true challenge. Although you can’t say much, what you can say must be powerful and convey more than what you can read. For me personally, I see the stories I’ve written on TaleHunt as a starting point, stories that can be expanded to flash fiction and then short stories and maybe even novels.
Yet, overall, as an experience and a platform, I’m not sure TaleHunt is there. The content is just not exactly what I’m looking for and based on the number of likes on the most liked stories of the day, I don’t see a platform that’s growing with an active userbase. I could be completely wrong here, of course, and naturally it takes time…so time will tell.
Either way, if you have an iPhone or an Android phone, it’s at least worth checking out.