Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Twitter Fiction Festival: elements of writing and what I learned

Writing a novel via Twitter is challenging, especially if you use the medium in the way users do. That means incorporating hashtags and @ signs and twitpics into your tweets. It means your protagonist telling the story as it is happening. We call this live tweeting.  

Well, I love challenges and this was one that I couldn’t wait to take on. I had been thinking about it for awhile but the Twitter Fiction Festival gave me the push I needed.

My idea was simple. I wanted to tweet a middle-grade novel aimed at kids 8 to 12, and I wanted to tweet it as if it were occurring in real time. I chose a novel that was plot driven because I thought it would hold the attention of tech-savvy kids who prefer video games over books. 

Although I was going to explore this new way of storytelling, I still had to make sure I incorporated the elements of a good story. In other words, I still had to write well.

I thought about:

Setting: where does the story take place?

Character: who is the story about? Actions. Dialogue. Appearance. Voice.

Plot: What’s at stake? Set up. Build up. Pay off.

Backstory: What happened before?

Details: What telling details help move the story forward?

I wanted to make sure that each twit chapter ended on a cliffhanger, just like I would do if it were being published via a print book.

In other words, I needed to tell the story in a way that maximized the platform and at the same time remained true to the mechanics of storytelling.

Writing fiction is writing fiction, but the platform in which it’s delivered (print, ebook, Twitter, etc.)  affects its presentation. In some cases, the delivery method, such as an ebook, can incorporate a rich visual experience as well as an interactive one.

I learned a lot from this experience. I can honestly say that I loved doing it but it was way more work than I anticipated. I had no idea that it would take so long to schedule 869 tweets or that my story would unfold over 96 hours.

Did people read it? Not sure. I hope someone somewhere did. And if you did, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Here are some related links:

Read the compilation of tweets

Follow @Brain_Invaders or read tweets from this account

Brain Invaders by the numbers

Social media tools I used to tell my Twitter fiction

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