In 2005, I visited the Roman ruins in Bath, England. The whole museum was amazing, but the most impressive part was this slab of mosaic they kept on a table connected to a seating bench. There were no wires to hold me back, no glass separating me from a piece of art constructed 2000 years prior. I admit, I touched it.
Now I had seen mosaics plenty of times in other museums. But I’d never been allowed to get up close and touch them before. I’d never had the chance to look at each tile, feel its edge, note its individual shape before pondering its role in making the larger image. I’d also never noticed the shape of the white space until I touched it.
On the train back to our Oxford inn, I started thinking about how to mirror that in a text form. Later I found a limited genre called novel-in-verse. I also discovered how hard books in this genre are to find. But I love them and I want more. They are perfectly suited to my often-interrupted reading time. The frequent white space gives time for reflection and analysis, time for the reader to make the story theirs. Novels in verse written for a YA audience (young adult) also give the side benefit of luring in reluctant readers that are usually intimidated by thick blocks of text.
But why should this concept be restricted to verse? Multiple short prose forms could serve the same purpose, just with a different texture. I’m always up for trying something new, so I’ve decided to create a home for novels in flash along with novels in verse–thus our first open-call for print books. We hope to launch our Mosaic line of novels in late autumn of 2012, but that will depend on whether or not we find the right manuscript. If you would like to submit a manuscript for consideration, see our guidelines on our submissions page or our Submishmash account.
If you have any questions about this concept, please feel free to post them as comments below.