Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tweeting a twovel

As it turns out, quite a few people have tried to publish Twitter-style novels. There's even an entire web site that allows people to publish their novels to the site via email or text messaging.

It's almost time to start my novel. As I'm editing my work, I've come up with a series of rules I plan to follow as I'm tweeting away this summer. Rules are good. They improve consistency in a piece of writing. I wrote my last novel with the rule that I couldn't use ordinary colours. Under this rule, I had to use "crimson" instead of "red" and "pumpkin" instead of "orange", for example.

Back to the rules that will govern my Twitter novel:
  1. Write in first person. Most twovels are written in third person, which may make for a good novel, but makes for clunky Twitter postings. Twitter is about social-networking, keeping your friends posted as to your whereabouts and goings-on in your life. The average person posts in first person and not third. Having my character be the one to post my tweets instead of posting them myself takes advantage of the true flavour of the medium.
  2. Avoid posting dialogue. See rule 1. Most people post in the first person about themselves. No dialogue allowed.
  3. Write in the past tense. Molly concentrates on her digging as she digs. She tweets when she's on a break. It makes sense to tweet in the past as it is unlikely someone is going to tweet as the action unfolds.
  4. Aim for an average of 5 or 6 tweets a day. Most online sources recommend a maximum of 5 tweets per day. Depending on what happens in the course of a day, 5 or less tweets may be enough. High action days might require more tweets. Narrative might also require more tweets as establishing character and backstory are also the tweets that are heavily descriptive.
  5. Maintain proper spelling and grammar conventions whenever possible. Sometimes, in order to save 3 - 5 characters, it is okay to replace "to" with "2", "and" with "&", "at" with "@", etc., but only as a last resort. Spaces after punctuation and commas may also be omitted if it benefits the narrative.

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