Rick Moody’s Twitterature
March 4, 2010 § 1 Comment
In the “Gee, Brevity rocks, but why so many words?” category:
Electric Literature asked Rick Moody to write a story using just 140 characters at a time. In other words, Twitter-ready.
Here is Moody talking about the experience on the blog, Future Perfect Publishing.
FPP: What inspired you to write a Twitter story?
RM: I think my contempt for Twitter is what inspired it, initially. In general, I think the way to describe the world is to get longer not shorter. Twitter, by virtue of brevity, abdicates any responsibility where real complexity is concerned, because it forbids length. This seemed to me like a challenge, then: how to get complex in a medium that is anathema to complexity and rigor. And a challenge is always thrilling.
FPP: What is the most difficult part of writing a story 140 characters at a time?
RM: That’s it’s 140 characters at a time! Is that not difficult enough? It’s very difficult to get real traction and real change into that space.
FPP: What is essential to carrying the story line in this new species of storytelling?
RM: I think you have to imply a lot of story because there’s just not that much action you can get into the character-count box. You can’t dramatize a scene so much on Twitter. Or, you have to cut up scenes into the little hunks available. To the extent that you can imply action rather than depicting it, you’ll have more room available for doing other bits of fictive work. Description, dialogue, character, and so on.
Moody’s story sits behind a $9.95 cent firewall, but you can read the opening excerpt here: Moody Does Twitter.
So we’re wondering if anyone wants to try this with nonfiction? Our pals at Creative Nonfiction have been running just such a contest, but we’re thinking we’d allow a total of 750 words, but in discreet 140 word segments, as Moody has done.