Last year we ran a post introducing the idea of Twitter as a conduit for fiction when we wrote about Twittories, a series of crowdsourced stories comprised of 140 Twitter messages from up to 140 different people.
Now it seems that some individual authors are exploring using Twitter as an alternative to the traditional novel. Professional author and freelance writer Nikki Katz has launched her own story called MyLifeIn140 – the tale of a “sixteen-year-old fictional character who learns that she can change her world around her, all by editing photos in her Yearbook room.”
The story takes the form of frequently updated tweets, which relate the main character’s thoughts and the events around her. Because the story only started a few days ago most of the tweets are related to character development and could have come from any angsty teenager, but the seeds of a story have been planted.
To be honest, there’s no way I’d ever want to follow MyLifeIn140 for any length of time, especially with tweets like:
“Doing the layout of the page with Caleb’s pic. Swoon. He looks hot! White shirt sets off his tan and his green eyes pop. And that hair…”.
But I’m not the target audience. I could see MyLifeIn140 and similar stories taking off at high schools, with the same kind of virality seen by the fictional LonelyGirl15 video series that managed to amass a huge following and spawned several spinoffs. And periodically updated text stories have been very popular abroad, where a significant number of best selling books were written from mobile phones.
That said, Twitter may wind up being too restrictive to tell an engrossing story – it’s far easier to identify and feel for characters when you can see them expressing their thoughts. And the barrier to entry to starting a new Twitter story is very low, which could well lead to a flood of knockoffs that may lead people to write off the format entirely.