Tweeting the Truth

November 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

ImageMore than four years in, the #cnftweet movement continues to find new energy and new participants.  Though many understandably thought at first that the idea of a 130-character story was just a novelty, the true tweet challenge has spawned a new literary form that many writers find not just fun but a useful exercise that enhances all writing. As part of the 50th issue celebration, Creative Nonfiction has published a roundtable discussion featuring a number of the most loyal and steadfast #cnftweeters. The whole conversation is fascinating, but to whet your appetite, here is an excerpt we especially enjoyed:

Stephanie: So often as writers, we’re asked to think about a piece as a whole. Where’s the emotional pull? How will a reader relate to this? Is that scene in the shopping mall important? Have I portrayed these people the way they should be portrayed? Have I honored my own emotional intention? What, exactly, did the doctor say and how did he look when he said it? Being able to focus, cut, load more into a sentence is exceedingly valuable in the grander writing scheme. In a microessay, every word, piece of punctuation, and inflection counts.

William: Those of us who teach writing frequently tell our students that every word has to count, but we don’t always follow our own advice. But Twitter doesn’t allow bloviating. Or, really, adverbs.

Kellie: Or many adjectives either. If you’re like me and tend to use three adjectives where one—or better yet, none—would do, cnftweeting can really help bash that habit out of you.

Chelsea: Bloviating! Exactly. I usually compose my cnftweets in Twitter, and I almost always start out with adverbs, stacked adjectives and clever punctuation that must be edited out to fit the character limit. This has definitely helped my long-form essays. I mean, I think we can all agree that a shriek can be presumed to be piercing in nearly every instance.

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