I haven’t blogged in what feels like decades. Not that I was ever a prolific-come-wit-it writer, other than a few short stories and a half-baked cyberpunk novel that was more a love letter to my newfound fiction obsession in high school.
So I started writing a story, fueled by ennui, crime comics, insomnia and consultations with a few oracles. So far, with a little nudge from a few Storymatic cards and a couple handfuls of GameMaster’s Apprentice, I’ve managed to sketch out a good lot of plot ahead of time using Trello, and have started posting the story bit by bit on twitter. See here: http://twitter.com/thynctwiction
I’m sure thousands of writers must have done this by now, but I’ve not read any #twitterfiction myself, nor heard tell of it in all my countless hours reading and writing little fortune cookie letters in bottles.
But so, why post on twitter vs this blog, or a new one?
There’s more than one reason; there’s the immediacy of the medium and likelihood of it being read, the temporal and temporary nature of the tweetstream fire hose that ensures the story will certainly be buried at some point in archives, never to be seen again – like a living thing that’s reached its end. There’s also the increased likelihood that I’ll continue writing in the first place, as it’s less of a time investment and I can just publish piecemeal, at my leisure, waiting in a doctor’s office or wherever else. I can wake from fitful slumber and drop a doozy of a bombshell on the story, or let it stifle a while if I’m being lazy or depressed.
But probably the main reason to post to twitter is the fact that the writing is constrained by necessity. Twitter may soon increase its character count limit beyond 140, but it’s working fine for me so far. I’ve engaged in endless banter threads on the service for years, and since their API improved tweets tend to load up in proper sequential order, so you can stitch together a cohesive narrative or dialogue across this linked list.
Every creative person who’s developed a workflow or who successfully pushes out quality work knows that constraint is the sensible mother of invention, while imagination is the playful, careless father, encouraging his child to think outside the box the mother has so carefully and lovingly maintained since birth. “Go play in the street, kiddo. Use sticks for swords and guns, magic wands, conductor’s batons, just try to have fun“.
So my writing is becoming more concise. I’m having to say more with fewer words, and it’s a fun challenge that I feel is actually benefiting my writing: I seem to be using a lot less filler text than my mind learned to subconsciously sneak into writing in my school days when grades depended partially on volume, an odd thing to me.
Strangely – almost paradoxically – my mind is whipping up lots of [at least halfway decent] poetic metaphors; bolder, balder and brighter descriptions of situations. I’m not concentrating on describing a scene like a script with impersonal stage directions, which I was wont to do in my past attempts at fiction.
I like to think I’m growing as a writer somewhat quickly. Time and any actual readers will tell. But I’ve been meaning to come back to writing (both fiction and blogging) for years, and simply for breaking through my erstwhile eternal block I am proud.
Please, if you’re much of a reader, a writer or just cuckoo for twitter, do have a look at what I’ve written so far. I have a lot planned, and right now the trick I’ve yet to fully ideate is how exactly to drop into flashbacks, philosophize through the mind of another or drop clues to mysteries that should not be fully revealed too early in the story.
I’m not sure how long this story will end up, but I imagine I have at least several weeks’ worth of a dozen or so tweets per day if I keep at it and the overall story doesn’t shift tectonically.
It’s a story about a man’s struggles with identity, with the law, with friendships and with his personal demons.
It’s called Last Snow, and you can read it here.