Twitter Fiction: The Newest Diction

This month I decided to go with something a little bit different. It’s a newer platform, that opens a lot of new doors for storytelling. Twitterature is a method of storytelling where an author uses the constraints of twitter (namely the character per tweet limit) to tell a story. One of the reasons this new method is so interesting is that authors can use these constraints to their advantage resulting in the telling of a story in a way that hasn’t really been possible up to now.

One good example of this Black Box by Jennifer Egan, a short story told exclusively in tweets. Egan takes advantage of the word count by delivering the story one sentence at a time. It reminded me in a way of the NBC series Burn Notice. Another spy themed show, where the narrator (and main character) goes over relevant ins and outs of espionage, while the story unfolds. Egan uses this medium to do the same; seamlessly blending narration and exposition, but instead with nothing but her words.

The intended way for it to be read these kinds of stories is Tweet by tweet. This, I believe is . It allows for the story to be more episodic like a TV show, turning the story into a series. The reader takes in a tweet, and waits for the next. At times this can build a lot of suspense. Some episodes your sentence is “You will be in constant danger.” (@NYerfiction, 05/24/2012). This sentence in isolation rather eerie. This adds an extra layer of suspense outside of the context of the story. Now each sentence is it’s own central piece told in solitude to draw out it’s individual power in addition to continuing the story.

Another person who’s brought out the power of individual sentences in this way is Teju Cole. in an interview when asked if twitter affected his writing creatively he stated. “When you’re writing fiction and longform prose, you think about the best sentences, of course, and you work on them. But when you’re tweeting, the sentences are isolated, they’re naked, and so there is that much more scrutiny on how they work.” (Teju Cole, Wired 8/2014). His series Seven Short Stories about Drones also draws out the power in finite sentences. Though they are not each singular sentences (each tweet contained about two to four), they were no less heavy. Cole uses the succinctness of twitter to deliver devastating stories, in just a few short sentences.

Twitteraeture can do all that, and even more, and will definitely be on the rise so be on the lookout for more of it so you can check out more amazing stories with very little investment on an app that you may very well be using daily already.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *