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Writing a Novel -- 140 Characters at a Time

Posted: 11/21/2012 4:36 pm

I'm a dramatist interested in form and my experiment is the novel written in 1000 tweets 140 characters each. It's @1000thenovel on Twitter.

It's been wonderful to read the many reactions to @1000thenovel so far, and I thought this blog might be the perfect place to discuss those.

In short, so to speak, older writers see tweets as sloppy, shallow, or even corrosive of language. I see a generation communicating, better.

And so I thought I'd introduce you to the idea of tweets being a kind of literary Lego: colorful individually and a creative aggregate, too.

In this introduction to my blog discussing the tweet as form and my novel using them, each 140-character tweet really serves as a paragraph.

"Brevity is the soul of wit," English teachers going on about Hemmingway's economy ad nauseum. This generation is being brief, motherfucker.

Call me an old punk rocker picking up my literary guitar to play, but I like the brutal edge of tweeting and its demands that yield rewards.

The logic is this: small, digestible bits of information resulting in a higher aggregate volume of information communicated. Sound familiar?

That's the Internet's logic, its math of small packets flying around to rejoin, just as tweets fly between us and aggregate in our thoughts.

And Joyce Carol Oates calls tweets "like termites," and J.K. Rowling abandons her Twitter account in a huff calling for her "pen and paper."

Has there been a clearer, shrill call to herald the birth of a new form of writing than that of a generation being admonished by its heroes?

New writers will experiment and writing will grow. It was ever thus. Writing is the truth. Twitter is the truth at 140 characters per tweet.

 

Follow Christopher Carter Sanderson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/1000thenovel

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