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!
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