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Ships that pass is a Tumblr of “fake, imagined, and literary missed connections posted to Craigslist and then re-posted here with real and actual responses to fake, imagined, and literary missed connections.”
An interesting note on who reads bestsellers from The Rumpus:
“A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.”
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:
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.
The Expressive Intelligence Studio blog has a new post up about the roleplaying card game Magic: The Gathering, which made me feel nostalgic in an odd sort of way. Because while I did enjoy the game in its heyday, I had a very different experience with it because I never actually bothered to learn the rules of the game. I was inspired by the art on the cards and bored by the scoring system, and so instead came up with a new set of rules entirely (which I don’t remember at all now). I taught them to my friends and we played informal tournaments with each other at home, at school, wherever.
Like pretty much everyone ever, I have a certain fascination with my childhood, largely in part because I had no qualms whatsoever about turning up my nose at the so-called rules and inventing my own. No matter how silly or irrational they may have seemed. And because of this fearlessness (or, if you like, naiveté), the artifacts of my childhood consist of horribly-drawn comics, short stories plagiarized from my favorite novels, and scripts for movies I planned to make, camera be damned. I even convinced some of my friends to participate in an original musical about gang warfare, which wasn’t a fraction as hilarious to me then as it is to me now. Sure, I might not have had the necessary knowledge to write about such a subject, being a preteen girl from the suburbs of New Jersey. Sure, I might not have been the best candidate to compose the original score, not being able to actually play any musical instruments. But who cared? I was going to write as much of the musical as I could, and rehearse with my friends as much as I could, and have a blast doing it.
While I am thrilled beyond compare that I can (fairly) confidently say that I’m a better writer now than I was at 10 or 12, and that my ideas now actually come to fruition, I feel like there’s something I’ve lost. Read more »
An excellent photo of Hemingway kicking a can, via kottke.org
In 1920, Ernest Hemingway’s colleagues bet him that he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. Being Hemingway and all, he found a way. His colleagues paid up. Hemingway considered the story his best work:
“For sale: baby shoes, never used.”
Ninety years later, the rise of the Internet along with countless creative writing classes have turned the spirit of Hemingway’s story into an entirely new genre. Microfiction now comes in a variety of flavors: 6-word stories, 25-word stories, 50-word stories, 100-word stories, 140-character stories (aha Twitter, we meet again!). Leo Tolstoy and Ayn Rand, proud sharers of the “world’s longest novel” title, would be appalled. Probably.
But short doesn’t necessarily mean “incomplete.” It’s fascinating to see how much writers can achieve with so few words. Character, conflict, resolution–it’s all there, and in less time than it takes you to turn the page. And so for your reading pleasure here are 49 more stories under 50 words, including some by Joss Whedon, John Updike, and Margaret Atwood, after the jump.