Writing a novel? Just tweet it
When Matt Stewart’s agent submitted his debut novel to publishing houses, he didn’t quite get the response he wanted.
“Many of them loved it, but none were willing to buy what they viewed as a ‘risky’ novel — vivid language, elements of fantasy and farce, raunchy humor,” the San Francisco resident wrote on his website.
But Stewart didn’t lose heart. On July 14, he started posting “The French Revolution” on Twitter.
The novel, about a San Francisco family forging its place in history, is one of the few full-length works of fiction to be released one tweet at a time.
Like tweeting a novel.
Stewart says it will take him approximately 3,700 tweets to transmit all of the 480,000 characters in his novel.
“I can get instant feedback from readers, and we can discuss the intricacies of the characters and plot twists as they develop,” he says.
Stewart is not the only one writing Twiction (or Twitter fiction). There’s Jim McCormick who tweeted a novel written by his late wife, Nick Belardes’ ‘Small Places‘ and even a Twitter novel in French.
And tech writer Rakesh Raman’s humanoid protagonist Robojit is leading a mission to the Sand Planet – at the rate of 10 tweets a day.
There are also some who tell the entire story in a single tweet.
If you need help, there are even web pages offering tips on writing a novel on Twitter.
And if you are suffering from writer’s block, you could always turn to literary classics for inspiration.
Videogame designer Ian Bogost and friend Ian McCarthy came up with idea of recreating a chapter from James Joyce’s 1922 novel “Ulysses” on Twitter.
And Chindu Sreedharan, who teaches journalism at Bournemouth University, is retelling the Hindu epic Mahabharata on Twitter.
Of course, Twiction is not perfect.
This month, a reader of the Mahabharata Twitter narrative alerted the author after reading a tweet that seemed out of place.
“I accidentally posted something meant for another Twitter account — and since it had some reference to ‘beach’ and ‘bikini-clad’, I had some answering to do,” Sreedharan said.
But the big question is — will Twiction remain some sort of social media experiment? Will it ever have literary merit?