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A Guide to Interesting Twitter Fiction Projects, Past and Present

JK Evanczuk / Monday, November 30, 2009 Comments Off

Twitter is not especially well-known for fiction. But maybe that will change. Writers are embracing Twitter for the creative challenge imposed by its 140-character limit, for its real-time functionality, and for its interactivity. Twitterature, or Twiction, or whatever else you’d like to call it, is not just a means of reaching today’s ADD-raddled reader–it’s a new medium entirely, spawning new ways to create and interact with fiction.

So without further ado, here’s a short guide to try innovative and interesting Twitter fiction projects, past and present:

@ElectricLit

Electric Literature’s highly anticipated “microserialization” of Rick Moody’s novel begins today, and is definitely worth a read. Rather than chopping up a pre-written story into 140-character bursts as many other Twitter novelists tend to do, Moody wrote his novel Some Contemporary Characters expressly for Twitter and embraced the character limit as a source of creative inspiration. Each section of the novel comes every 10 minutes and lasts until December 2nd.

Bloomsday

Last Bloomsday, two Ulysses enthusiasts took the novel’s 10th chapter, Wandering Rocks, and retraced all the events of that day on Twitter. Videogame designers Ian Bogost and Ian McCarthy registered 54 of the novel’s characters as Twitter users, who all Tweeted about what they were doing on June 16, 1904 at the correct fictional times. (Old project, since June 16 is long past at this point, but still worth a read. Here’s hoping Bogost and McCarthy will revive the project in some way next Bloomsday.)

The Twitter of Oz

The Twitter of OzWhat would the cast of characters in The Wizard of Oz be talking about if they were on Twitter? Much like in the Bloomsday Twitter project, Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch, the Wizard and Glinda the Good Witch tweet their experiences and interact with each other in real-time. Unlike the Bloomsday project, all their Tweets are neatly displayed side-by-side on the Twitter of Oz website by creative agency Visual Goodness. (Also old, also still worth checking out nonetheless.)

Twyric

Twyric is an experimental arts project that finds tweets with the hashtags #haiku, #lyric, #poetry, #poem, etc, and pairs it with a related image from Flickr in real-time (Twyric = Twitter + lyric, get it?). Twyric aims solely to bring the poetry to life and to create a “background for contemplation.”

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@EpicTale

@EpicTale is a collaborative epic Twitter fiction project wherein Twitterers can add to the story by just hitting “reply” with their addition. From @EpicTale’s bio: “Join together with the rest of Twitter nation to create the most epic tale of all time! OF ALL TIME!”

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#bbcawdio

We’ve already talked about Neil Gaiman’s Twitter story, but it’s still worth a mention here. Neil Gaiman partnered with the BBC to conduct a crowdsourced story on Twitter. Gaiman launched the story by Tweeting the first line, and fans tweeted their additions to the story with the hashtag #bbcawdio. The BBC kindly waded through all the Twitter contributions to somehow piecemeal together a coherent story, which premieres December 1.

@AcimenandRensin

Yeah, these are the Twitter book deal guys. Two college students retweet classic and contemporary literature, humorously. Hamlet turns into “WTF IS POLONIUS DOING BEHIND THE CURTAIN???” Oedipus turns into “PARTY IN THEBES!!! Nobody cares I killed that old dude, plus this woman is all over me. Total MILF.” They just finished tweeting “Uncomfortable Glimpses Into Stephenie Meyer’s Masturbatory Fantasies,” having hopped on the Twilight parody train (they’re not the only ones).

@MyOwnAdventure

A choose-your-own adventure Twitter. @MyOwnAdventure tweets a story, then lets followers decide what happens next. This seems to be inactive, which is a shame. I’m mentioning it here anyway because it seems like Twitter would be the perfect platform for this sort of thing, and I don’t understand why there isn’t more of this.

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Microfiction

God, where do I begin? Twitter has given rise to tons of microfiction, from the top-notch @nanoism to @TeenySciFi (science fiction/fantasy microfiction), @MiniFiction (science fiction and mystery microfiction), and @SteamTwisters (steampunk microfiction). Also recommended: @VeryShortStory, @arjunbasu, @InstantFiction, @midnightstories, @thaumatrope, @10_x_10, and the hashtag #vss.

P.S.

I put together two Twitter list-thingies you can follow if you like: @litdrift/twitter-fiction-projects and @litdrift/microfiction. The lists include all the projects above, plus some other interesting ones not mentioned here.

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Feel free to add to this list!

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  • http://wendellhowe.blogspot.com/2009/04/temporal-antrhopologist-recruitment-ad.html Jeanette Bennett aka Scablander

    Does @Wendell_Howe count? Dr. Wendell Howe is a Temporal Anthropologist from the 27th century who is studying the Victorian Age. He tweets about his day to day activities, in the “Field” or from his office at Cambridge (formerly a janitor’s closet).

    Wendell was able to interview Louisa May Alcott in 1885 today. Tomorrow he will throw a rose into Boston Bay as a tribute to all that poor lovely tea that was destroyed by those philistine Americans.

    Wendell currently has thousands of fans following him. (Check favorites for fanmail.)

  • http://www.litdrift.com JK Evanczuk

    What! This is awesome. How did I miss this? I added him to the list @litdrift/twitter-fiction/projects.

  • http://www.thefrenchrev.com Matt Stewart

    You might check out my Twitter novel, The French Revolution @thefrenchrev – I launched the novel on Twitter on Bastille Day and wound up landing a book deal with Soft Skull Press. http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/behind_the_deal/denise_oswald_on_twitter_novel_deal_136079.asp

    Very cool list overall – I will follow it!

  • http://www.chicagotocoronado.com K.O.

    I iced “CHICAGO TO CORONADO” a Twitter digi-soap opera, in October, after realizing monetization was too far off for a single girl on a bootstrapped budget. CHICAGO TO CORONADO grew to 40K fans across a cast of 7 main characters and it had the social media landscape covered. I wrote all 7 characters myself, sending random 140-character tweets across characters – building a home on Facebook, Vimeo and Bubbletweet, Flickr, a weekly e-newsletter and a website (www.CHICAGOTOCORONADO.com). The characters led active online lives – maintaining Yelp, Facebook, Amazon, and LinkedIn profiles. CHICAGO TO CORONADO was featured in USAToday, San Diego Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, We Love Soaps, and more. It was my creative (financially draining) passion but alas, living on a small Island off the coast of Coronado isolates a unknown woman writer – and I had zero literary or Hollywood connections.

  • http://www.chicagotocoronado.com K.O.

    I iced “CHICAGO TO CORONADO” a Twitter digi-soap opera, in October, after realizing monetization was too far off for a single girl on a bootstrapped budget. CHICAGO TO CORONADO grew to 40K fans across a cast of 7 main characters and it had the social media landscape covered. I wrote all 7 characters myself, sending random 140-character tweets across characters – building a home on Facebook, Vimeo and Bubbletweet, Flickr, a weekly e-newsletter and a website (www.CHICAGOTOCORONADO.com). The characters led active online lives – maintaining Yelp, Facebook, Amazon, and LinkedIn profiles. CHICAGO TO CORONADO was featured in USAToday, San Diego Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, We Love Soaps, and more. It was my creative (financially draining) passion but alas, living on a small Island off the coast of San Diego isolates a unknown woman writer – and I had zero literary or Hollywood connections.

  • http://lalai.net/2009/12/08/a-nova-geracao-dos-livros/ Lalai LOADED » Blog Archive » A nova geração dos livros

    [...] Lit Drift lançou um guia de projetos de  ficção bacanas rolando no Twitter. Vale conferir aos interessados no [...]

  • http://www.stateofnormal.com Hadley Reese

    Please consider checking out our original twitter fiction, STATE OF NORMAL. 17 twitter characters. It’s part satire, part thriller, and large part labor of love. http://www.stateofnormal.com. On twitter, you can go to http://www.twitter.com/state_normal for character list and links to all characters. We promise thrills and spills (we hope!!)

    Thanks!

  • http://www.twitter.com/whodunit140 jp

    Hi,
    Twitter fiction is all the rage! Just wanted to mention my twitter novel – a comedy thriller. Follow @whodunit140.
    Thanks

  • http://jaks.ryangeddes.net Ryan Geddes

    Hi JK. Great piece. Just wanted to share that I’ve been publishing a Twitter sci-fi novel called Jaks since July. Please add me to your Twitter list! It’s tough to find spots where these are all collected in one place, so it’s great to see Lit Drift paying attention.

    Twitter: @phunnel

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jaks-An-Online-Novel/142226088410?created

    Web: http://jaks.ryangeddes.net

    Thanks!

  • http://tweetjunk.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/publishing-on-twitter/ Publishing on Twitter « Tweet Junk

    [...] on Twitter Jump to Comments Lit Drift offers a list of past and present fiction projects that used Twitter as a publishing [...]

  • http://saltmedia.com.my/2010/02/23/%e2%80%9cit-was-the-best-of-tweets-it-was-the-worst-of-tweets-%e2%80%9d-twitter-and-literature-should-we-file-this-combo-under-%e2%80%98never-the-twain-shall-meet%e2 “It was the best of tweets, it was the worst of tweets…” Twitter and literature — should we file this combo under ‘never-the-twain-shall-meet’? After all, how could War and Peace possibly— Aiyoh, turns out they’ve already met-lah,

    [...] Aiyoh, turns out they’ve already met-lah, and given birth to twitterature (or twiction). Notable examples here. [...]

  • http://saltmedia.com.my/revamp/?p=1020 “It was the best of tweets, it was the worst of tweets…” | Salt Media

    [...] Aiyoh, turns out they’ve already met-lah, and given birth to twitterature (or twiction). Notable examples here. [...]

  • http://www.trendcentral.com/media/tweeting-the-whole-story/ Tweeting the Whole Story | trendcentral

    [...] 140 characters at a time. In addition to the Twit Lit projects written about below, Lit Drift has a comprehensive guide to Twitter fiction ventures should you want more substance in your feeds. Hey, if a blog consisting [...]

  • http://anedinburghsummer.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/thought-provoking-2/ Thought Provoking « An Edinburgh Summer

    [...] guide to fiction on [...]

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