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Using Twitter for creative writing

Twitter allows only 140 characters per message or “tweet”. That’s around 20 to 25 words on average. How can that be any use for creative writing?

The answer is: “quite a lot”. Being restricted to so few words forces you to be concise and to the point.

In my working life I have long had the conviction that if you can’t explain something in a sentence or two then you really don’t understand it, and I think a similar idea is true in non-fiction.

I’m not suggesting that we should try to produce 140 character novels – I think classics like Wuthering Heights would lose something in the translation. However, there is no reason that “Twitter fiction” should not be a genre in its own right – which indeed it has become. Check out Twitter fiction – really! by Simon Kewin for a useful summary of this art form and some useful leads.

In a similar vein, take a look at Deconstructing a 25-word story by Dogtrax, in which the writer takes a 25 word story he has written and then explores it. As he says:

I find it useful to flesh out the story beyond 25 words. The 25 is only the start; the real story unfolds outside of our field of vision.

So don’t dismiss Twitter has something used only by a bunch of nerds telling the world what they had for breakfast – it’s gone way beyond that now!

You can follow me on Twitter if you like. Sign-up is free, and takes just a couple of minutes.Then go to and click on Follow.


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