Columns and pages – a different look and feel
For National Short Story Day, Chuffed Buff Books put a series of short story extracts on their website. They are from their recent anthology, You, Me & a Bit of We, and included an extract from my story, Last Funeral but Two.
Natch I went to the site to read the extracts. When reading mine, for a moment I thought they’d changed it. Then I realised that this feeling came from seeing it in a wide column instead of a whole page.
I’m used to seeing my work in pages on screen and on paper, but I’ve never seen it in column form and I was surprised at what a difference that made. The whole feel of the story changed for me – it felt more abrupt and ‘temporary’ and the short lines meant I read it faster but more superficially than usual.
What sort of difference would it make to have it appear as an illustrated manuscript, on a tiny mobile screen, in multiple columns on a scroll one unwound while reading like the ancient Romans had? Is the kind of literature written partly a response to the kind of layout and materials available? I doubt if I’ll ever know, but it’s interesting to speculate that I could make an undying classic just by writing on papyrus.