What is a Cell Phone Novel?

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A cell phone novel, or 携帯小説 (Romaji: keitai shousetsu) is a literary medium originating from Japan in the mid-late nineties. As the name suggests, it is written on a cell phone, often sent to others via SMS text or email subscription lists. Due to the limited word constraints of a cell phone text message, the stories were often divided by chapters, each chapter lasting the length of 70-200 maximum word count.

Early writers of this genre were mostly young women writing about romance, relationship, internal strife. Since its rising popularity in Japan, it has spread all over Asia, Europe, South Africa and even North America as it attracted people of all kinds to share their words with the world.

The largest advantage it held over conventional writing was its ease of access and entry. Unlike a traditional book, anyone that has anything to say with an internet connection can immediately read and share stories. Since then, cell phone novels (or CPNs for short) have spread in popularity, sites like Textnovel (textnovel.com) and Wattpad (wattpad.com) promoting and supporting cell phone novels and its (primarily) North American movement.

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