Yes, it is possible to write a story in as few as 140 characters, but you’ll have to let the reader do some of the work…
Write a story in 140 characters
- 140 characters means just that: every space, every punctuation mark, each one counts.
- If your character is a product of the pre-smartphone era and you want to use ‘text speak’, you can (e.g. Ur gr8!). Personally I never felt the need for that, and have learned to be extremely concise (believe it or not) when I have to be.
- You can write a single story over a series of Tweets.
- Stories written this way are gimmicky and often end with a punch, but it’s an interesting experience (not to mention a way to tick the ‘story done’ box on an otherwise busy day).
- Don’t expect to come up with a refine a 140 character story quickly. You can, however, do it in fragments during a busy day. Keep refining it until you’re happy.
- Super-short stories like this work well when they have a strong voice.
- Use some of the features of haiku: juxtapose a small thing with a large thing (object, concern, sight); make a surprising or insightful observation about a common occurrence; use the language at the end to echo the language at the beginning, giving it a feeling of circularity or completion; be impressionistic or surreal or dreamlike; leave a lot to the imagination.
- If you post a story as a five-part series on Twitter, put 1/5, 2/5, 3/5 etc at the end of each episode, so that readers know there is more coming.
- If you’re posting your story to Twitter, make it a little shorter and use the hashtag #StADa so we can find it!
Post a comment at the blog to let us know you’ve written today, or join the community and post in the Victory Dance Group.
OK, so that was a fairly large story you wrote yesterday and you’ve probably got some ‘life’ that you’ve been neglecting while you wrote. So today you’re getting a bit of a break.
(And remember, the prompts are always optional)
Write a story of no more than 140 characters
- Bonus credit: post it on Twitter and follow up with a Tweet explaining to everyone that you’re taking part in StoryADay May and that they should really think about joining in, yes, even now, even though they’re late to the party. That’s when all the people who like to think they’re cool turn up anyway…
- Remember that with a story this short, most of the story is untold, implied, imagined by the reader.
- This story will not be quick simply because it is short
- Use one of your favorite story sparks for this tiny story. Yes, I mean it. Use up a really good story idea on this. That way you’ll be forced to look around today, for more Story Sparks.
- Are you starting to notice that, after five days of writing, you’re seeing Story Sparks all around you? Are you listening harder to what people tell you? Are you reading more carefully when you get the chance? Are you starting to do that wonderfully creative thing and see connections all over the place?
- If you’re having second thoughts about writing (especially if you’re drawing from your real life) remember that you don’t have to show these stories to anyone. Even if you write a blistering portrait of your boss, no-one has to ever see it — especially not in the first draft. Worry about disguising your sources later, when we talk about revision next month!
Post about your writing day in the comments below or join the Victory Dance group in the community for more accountability.
Seedpod Publishing is a “micro-publishing cooperative” — which sounds to me like a collection of authors and publishing people banding together to distribute literary fiction, digitally.
They publish books and help with promotion and distribution – all digital and Digital Rights Management free, so your readers can read your book wherever they want, not linked to any particular device.
They also curate a Twitter stream of 140-character tiny tales at @seedpodpublishing . You can submit your Twitter stories here. (I particularly like their Publishing Rights section, written in Real English!)
From the Writers’ Guidelines page:
We believe that writers can and should be supported financially by the community. Because of this, the free versions of our books are made possible by donations as well as by advertising from organizations that are doing socially just work. Our aim is to nurture the work of writers and keep literature accessible for all.
It’s intriguing alternative to both traditional publishing and go-it-alone self-publishing. I’ll be watching with interest.