I’ve been knocking around the idea of fiction for the Twitterverse or more broadly the Social Media Verse.
I was inspired by the New Yorker’s feature a few years ago of a story told in 10 Twitter instalments by Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad.
Here’s the link to Black Box in its entirety.
Here’s my first stab at what I’m calling TWITFIC. Stories in 140 characters or less.
Over his dead body, she stepped lightly.
Bypassed the blood and the broken lamp.
Took his wallet.
His pocket was full of lozenges.
There’s been a real boon of flash or micro fiction online over the last few years.
“The idea of tweeting it predated the story, in the sense that although I have not been active on Twitter at all, as either a reader or a tweeter, I have been interested in it for quite a while. I love the thought of trying to use it as a delivery system for fiction, and I’m interested in the way that some nineteenth-century fiction was constructed around its serialization.”
Jennifer Egan from Q&A in New Yorker magazine
Flash Fiction or Micro Fiction is a sub-set of fiction where the story can be as brief as one line or as long as a 1000 words.
Here’s a primer from The Review Review: Flash Fiction: What’s It All About?
It’s not necessarily a brand new thing…the “Postcard Story” has been around for a while.
According to the site Postcard Shorts – “The inspiration for this site comes from a challenge made by George Hay, a science fiction magazine editor in the 1970s, to Arthur C. Clarke (and others). The challenge was to write a short story to put on a postcard.”
I’ve been writing Postcard stories for years now. Even though they’re short…and TWIT FIC even shorter – they’re not stories that are simply dashed off. The craft is the same – albeit in a very concise…dare I say pithy fashion. In a way, writing extremely short fiction is like writing poetry – each word must be carefully chosen and weighted for the biggest impact.
One particular postcard story was inspired by my brother who’s a history buff, a trivia and movie lover and who also happens to be autistic. He introduced me to Louis Cyr, the renowned Canadian strongman who lived in the early 1900s.
In pokey Lindsay, the backwoods of Ontario, the crowd has gathered at the baseball diamond. Seated on the wooden bleachers, stained with yellow mustard droppings, they busy themselves with five cent franks, and glossy kernels of popcorn. He ate two dozen eggs for breakfast! No kidding? Don’t forget the steaks. Yessiree, two 12 ounce t-bones! The band starts up as the Master of Ceremonies ambles to the pitcher’s mound. Ladies and Gents! Boys and Girls! Prepare to be astounded! Prepare to be amazed! Please welcome the Strongest Man on Earth, Louis Cyr! Hands come together and feet pound the bleachers. Children scream in glee. Cyr makes his entrance. A monolith of a man. Swarthy, with a large, black, burnished moustache. His eyes twinkle as his immense bulk ripples. Now ladies, volunteers please! Women in their Sunday best, petticoats rustling, the fatter the better, are persuaded down. Cyr bows to all. Soon, twenty ladies are on the field. They are seated on a long wooden plank, ten on each side. They giggle with embarrassment and then gasp as they are hoisted into the air, their legs dangling. Cyr grips the plank, grunting quietly. A small girl runs onto the field crying, arms outstretched. Mama, I want to come too! The crowd roars with laughter, then cheers wildly as Cyr nods, “come ma p’tite.” Men bear her into the air, setting her down on the board that rests on the Strong Man’s back. She can see for miles.
In today’s world of social media and mobile devices extremely short fiction has a perfect platform. Short can be very sweet for both the writer and the reader, so why not try it yourself? I for one, am thinking of writing a TWITFIC mystery series.
FLASH FORWARD: Write a story that is 140 characters long or as long as 1000 words. Submit it to one of the sites listed below…or find other avenues or publish on your personal social media sites. Happy Writing!