Tag Archives: story140

Five days, one paragraph

So I am 5 days or 700 characters in to my Story 140 experiment. Even though separation between each tweet is only implied, this is the end of the first paragraph, and on the web site I will be formatting it that way.

If you were to put the ideas you have in life into two buckets — and I don’t meant the little one-off ideas, I mean the big ones you care about and could passionately defend — you might divide them into ideas which are truly great, and ideas which sound great. The key here is to avoid the ideas which are neither great nor which sound particularly good at all. It’s too early to know which one of these idea types Story 140 is, but at this point I’m leaning toward the “sounds great” side.

Put simply, writing something 140 characters at a time is exactly opposite to the way I normally write. It is much more challenging than I thought, and after 2 days I immediately wanted to start cheating and writing a bunch ahead, so that the story flowed properly.

I’ll keep at it, but I did realize that I have to at least partially plan what the story is about. I have only a vague idea in my head, but as I give it some more thought I will probably jot down notes so that when it comes time to write the tweet each day I know a little bit about where it is going. Even so, please don’t expect greatness from this work of fiction. You will be disappointed.

On the plus side, I have received feedback (see “Ryan Irelan’s post”:http://www.ryanirelan.com/past/2007/11/03/story-140/) that it would be great for multiple people to contribute. As I said about NaNoWriMo, what makes some of these projects work is the community. I’d love to open up this concept, and I can turn the web site into more of an aggregator of sorts. If anyone has suggestions, please email me.

Story 140

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but I’m way too busy to participate this year. (See “my wrap-up post from 2005”:http://www.manton.org/2005/12/50136_words.html for the last time I did it.) I would love to write something, though. Maybe I should consider “Ficlets”:http://ficlets.com/ or a similar site, but I’ve had Twitter on the brain lately. Why not take the embracing constraints approach and write a story through Twitter?

Introducing “Story 140”:http://www.story140.com/, a new web site and “Twitter account”:http://twitter.com/story140 where I will be writing a short story in 140 characters a day for 140 days. To make things interesting I set a few rules for myself (listed on the site), including that every tweet must be written the day it is posted and be reasonably grammatically correct while still exactly 140 characters. (I say “reasonably” because there will be the occasional use of incomplete sentences, and some people may question my spelling of dialog without the ending “ue”. That must be influenced by years of programming the old Mac toolbox.)

Even though it is extremely serialized, my hope is that the resulting story will actually be readable. We’ll have to see how successful I end up being at that goal. It’s already more challenging than I expected; the first tweet took me about 10 minutes to write, and the second one even longer.