I read an article on salon.com by Barry Yourgrau the other day, about fiction and twitter. Well, that was the google search that I found the article with. It’s more about Japanese mobile phone novels, but it does consider the fictional possibilities of twitter as well. It got me thinking about a few things.
Max Barry has been playing with the short-instalment-over-the-internet format for a little while now with his serialised novel Machine Man (now subscription-only, but you can read the archives for free on his site), and I was enjoying both how he was doing it and where he was going with it. I haven’t subscribed yet, but it’s cheap and I plan to soon.
I’m also following a couple of guys on twitter who are telling long-form fictional stories in 140-character-maximum installments: Othar, a “gentleman adventurer” and Ray Helsing, an “ex-cop, ex-husband, current PI”.
Both of these guys are genuinely interesting and intriguing to follow. There are heaps of fictional characters tweeting out there too, but they’re usually just personas, like Kimiko Ross or Wonderella, rather than telling an actual ongoing story with a definite sense of progression. They’re still fun to have in your feed, but not necessarily going anywhere definite.
So 1 + 1 + 1 = me, I guess. I’ve decided to dip my toe into the novel-via-twitter swimming pool to see if the water’s fine or not. I have no idea whether it’ll develop any kind of following – I don’t have Max Barry’s profile, obviously, so I’ll be starting from scratch – and I’m reluctant to commit to a regular posting schedule because of the vagaries of life et cetera, but for the time being the idea interests me, so here we go.
There’s no real plan here, just a starting point and some vague ideas of what might be interesting to write about. My theory is that trying to cram a creative-writing-shaped peg into an information-delivery-shaped hole is probably not destined for resounding success, but just as a completed nanowrimo novel isn’t likely to be a work of utter genius sprung fully formed, &c &c, it may at least turn out to be the beginning of something worth pursuing down other avenues. Call it a public first draft, if you will.
So if you’re on twitter and you’re interested in seeing how this goes, it’s all taking a place at http://twitter.com/arfox, or you can check out the latest three updates on the main page of this blog, just above the blogroll.