Chat fiction startup Hooked unveils ‘Dark Matter,’ its first feature-length thriller

New fictional chat companies have been exploring the types of stories you can count on in text message conversations, and now Hooked is taking that exploration one step further with the release of "Dark Matter." " The company describes this as its first

"Dark Matter" tells the story of Tasneem (Taz) Singh, a South American student at Stanford who, after the mysterious death of her twin sister, discovers that she has the ability to interact with the paranormal.

The story opens today on Snapchat, with a new chapter that goes out every day until Tuesday, October 30. According to CEO Prerna Gupta, the full script totals 32,000 words, the length of a feature film script or a short novel: "I think it's fair to say that this is the longest chat fiction story. It's certainly the longest we've produced for Hooked . "

If you're not yet a fan of fiction, you may be skeptical about reading something so long in text message format." Gupta admitted that she and her husband, Parag Chordia, had similar doubts when they created the company together.

"I would be lying if I did not say we did not have that question either," he told me. "When a new type of format or a really new medium appears, you first start with the basics, tell the simplest stories, then, as you become more expert in communicating with that format, you can begin to deepen. "

That means going beyond the text: "Dark matter", for example, will include a voice track and a custom. illustrations

"Length makes a big difference," Gupta added. "You can take your time, slow down and spend more time with the world, developing deeper relationships between the characters."

"Dark Matter" was written by the editor of Hooked Elyse Endick, but Gupta said the writing process was "almost more like a writers room: it was very collaborative, she made a sample bible, then, in each step, she and I and our content manager sat in a Google Hangout and we just met it. "

Although the story will debut on Snapchat, it will also make way for Hooked's main application, Gupta said it's less focused in owning the distribution channel that in reaching large global audiences, and distribution via Snapchat can help with that. (The company says that 100 million unique readers have accessed their stories through the Hooked and Snapchat app

"I'm not trying to be the next Instagram," he said. "It's not about the application or any given application. For me, it's really about our stories. "

And while Snapchat recently lost some of its brightness (the daily count of active users dropped another 1 percent in its last quarter), Gupta said:" I think people are underestimating their global strategy around entertainment, to be TV for the next generation. "

He added that Hooked's content engagement on Snapchat has been" insane. "

" Why are we investing our resources with Snap? For what we are seeing, "he said." Our audience and how committed they are, that's real. "