This writing mechanism is a modern day form of serialization, but where the serial story is told almost line-by-line. While it may appear a bit gimicky, it can be done in a way that it has interesting aspects that distinguish the form from that of a "regular" short story. This includes the 140-character bit-by-bit pacing, the self-contained nature of each Tweet standing alone, and a uniquely choppy pasting together of the lines into an edgy whole.
So far, I've read two #Twiction short stories.
The first is "Black Box," by Jennifer Egan, which I loved. It was a hyper-cool female spy story that was compelling, funny, and exemplified how this form can create a different sort of short story. It can be read in its entirety here. (A review of the piece, written in the same tweet-by-tweet format can be read here.)
Some of my favorite sections of Tweets from Black Box:
- You are a lovely girl” may be meant straightforwardly.
- Ditto “I want to fuck you now.”
- “Well? What do you think about that?” suggests a preference for direct verbal responses over giggling.
- “I like it” must be uttered with enough gusto to compensate for a lack of declarative color.
- “You don’t sound sure” indicates insufficient gusto.
- “I’m not sure” is acceptable only when followed, coyly, with “You’ll have to convince me.
- Throwing back your head and closing your eyes allows you to give the appearance of sexual readiness while concealing revulsion.
- You will reflect on the fact that you must return home the same person you were when you left.
- You will reflect on the fact that you’ve been guaranteed you will not be the same person.
- You will reflect on the fact that you had stopped being that person even before leaving.
- You will reflect on the fact that too much reflection is pointless.
- You will reflect on the fact that these “instructions” are becoming less and less instructive.
The second is "The Right Sort,"by David Mitchell. I found the story itself to be incredible and fascinating. Narrated by a young boy, it begins as a very ordinary tale but morphs into a terrifying dream-like journey that quickens in pace and grows weirder as the story progresses.
It was far less choppy than Egan's piece and drew me in immediately. While perhaps it is a more sophisticated and whole-feeling story, I didn't think it used this form in a way that made it much different from an ordinary short story. It can be read in its entirety here.
One of my favorite sections of Tweets from The Right Sort:
- We get off the Number 10 bus at a pub called ‘The Fox and Hounds’. ‘If anyone asks,’ Mum tells me, ‘say we came by taxi.’
- ‘I thought lying was wrong,’ I say. Butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth. Mum gives me a look. ‘It’s called “creating the right impression”.’
- It’s a grey afternoon. Rain’s forecast for later. Through a front window, I see wrestling on the telly. Mum walks ahead. I follow.
- I hope to God nobody from school sees me in this tweed jacket and tie Mum bought me from Littlewoods. I look like a total ponce.
- If any of Gaz Townshend’s lot catch me dressed like this, life won’t be worth living come Monday. His gang shits on me enough as it is.
- It’s all very well for Mum to say, ‘You shouldn’t care what people think’: kids have laws and if you break those laws, you’re dead meat