Showing posts with label flash fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flash fiction. Show all posts

Monday, September 11

Writing Prompt: What if scientists could tell what a person looked like from a sample of their blood?

Writing Prompt: What if scientists could tell what a person looked like from a sample of their blood?

I read about advances in science and technology and think, ‘This would make an interesting prompt.’ For example ...

Although the technology doesn’t exist yet scientists agree that in a few years we’ll be able to tell what a person looks like from a sample of their DNA. [1]

The writing challenge: Write a piece of flash fiction—fewer than 500 words—that involves the use of this technology. Keep in mind that (IMHO) the essential characteristic of very short stories is that it hints at a complete story. For example:

“I just stood there, in the stifling and cramped semi-darkness, listening to the frenzied beating of my heart. Or perhaps it was the bear’s heart.” [2]
by Tatyana Talstaya, August 9, 2017

If you’re feeling brave, please leave either your story or a link to it in the comments. Good writing!

If you have ideas for writing prompts, please send them my way! Also, if you have any feedback about this prompt, please share. Thanks in advance! 😀

1. Does Your Genome Predict Your Face? Not Quite Yet.
2. Flash Fiction: A summary of very short stories.

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

Tuesday, November 25

Four Tips For Writing Flash Fiction, And Why You Should!

Four Tips For Writing Flash Fiction, And Why You Should!

Once upon a time, I couldn’t write a 2,000 word piece of fiction if my life depended on it. 100,000 words, sure. 50,000 words, fine. 10,000 words, okay. 2,000? Ha! Nope. 

Now I can. 

What changed? One thing: I’d started to write flash fiction. 

I hadn’t thought much about this until a few days ago when a reader left a comment on Short Story Structures: Several Ways Of Structuring Short Fiction. Sean mentioned he’d had a similar problem and overcome it through writing flash fiction, stories told in fewer than 1,000 words.

So, today, I’d like to write about flash fiction—what it is and how to get started writing it. (For more on flash fiction and what it is, see: Five Reasons To Write Flash Fiction.)

1. Only write part of the larger story.

Full-length stories have a certain shape. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end. In the beginning, the protagonist takes up a quest. In the middle, the protagonist enters the special (and strange) world of the adventure. At the end, the protagonist takes the fight to the enemy, finally overcoming the obstacles to attaining her goal. Or not.

One cannot do all this in 1,000 words or less. The trick is to pick just one part of the larger story to explore. 

For example, one could begin in the middle, before the protagonist’s confrontation with the antagonist and write about their epic battle. Or one could begin at the end, at the climax, and write about how the protagonist defeats the antagonist (or was trounced by them, it’s up to you and the kind of story you’re writing). OR you could take just one event from the beginning—perhaps the Call to Adventure—and focus on that. 

When the protagonist receives her Call to Adventure she often demurs and has to be cajoled. Something has to happen to change her mind. Perhaps a mentor will talk with her, perhaps the protagonist will be given something (in fairy tales this is often a magical item) that can help them on the journey, or perhaps the antagonist will hurt someone the protagonist cares about (think Star Wars) in a misguided effort to intimidate the protagonist. 

Those are just examples. You can pick any part of the protagonist’s journey and spin it into a (very) short story.

2. Use only one or two principle characters.

 In my flash fiction I usually only use two principle characters, a protagonist and antagonist. Other characters may be mentioned or play small parts, but I’ve found there really isn’t enough space to develop more than two characters. (But that could just be me. Experiment!)

3. End in the middle.

David Gaffney has put together a terrific article on the subject of writing flash fiction over at It’s entitled “Stories in your pocket: how to write flash fiction.” Gaffney urges writers not to put the end of the story at ... well, the end of the story! He writes:

“[...] place the denouement in the middle of the story, allowing us time, as the rest of the text spins out, to consider the situation along with the narrator, and ruminate on the decisions his characters have taken.”

That sounds fun, I’m going to try that the next time I write a piece of very short fiction.

4. End with a twist.

David Gaffney doesn’t say this—in fact, it would seem to go against what he says—but I like flash fiction that ends with a twist. It’s difficult to do well, though.

I’ve shared this story before, but I love it and it’s a terrific example of a super-short tale with a killer twist. The story is called "Bad Dreams":

‘Daddy, I had a bad dream.’

You blink your eyes and pull up on your elbows. Your clock glows red in the darkness—it’s 3:23. ‘Do you want to climb into bed and tell me about it?’

‘No, Daddy.’

The oddness of the situation wakes you up more fully. You can barely make out your daughter’s pale form in the darkness of your room. ‘Why not, sweetie?’

‘Because in my dream, when I told you about the dream, the thing wearing Mommy’s skin sat up.’

For a moment, you feel paralyzed; you can’t take your eyes off of your daughter. The covers behind you begin to shift.

I love that ending!

So, what are you waiting for? The next time you’re stuck in a lineup or in a bus or taxi, whip out your writer’s pad and get started on a lightening fast bit of fiction. What would happen if ...

That’s it!

If you’d like to practice writing flash fiction, I publish a writing prompt every weekday. A number of people who are far more creative than I am poke their head in and occasionally contribute. It’s an open group, so if the mood takes you feel free to come on by.

Another great place to practice the art and craft of writing short is Chuck Wendig’s blog. Every Friday he publishes a writing prompt. You post your work on your own web-estate and drop a link to your work in a comment. (Note: Due to his enthusiastic and creative use of decidedly adult language, Wendig’s website is NSFW.) Here’s an example: Flash Fiction Challenge: Superheroes Plus.

Photo credit: "One of these Things is not like the others." by JD Hancock under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Monday, July 14

4 Ways To Write Every Day

4 Ways To Write Every Day

I need to write every single day.

Everyone's different, I know that. What works for others doesn't always work for me and what works for me won't always work for others.

Writing Daily

When I work on a zero draft, or first draft, I work on it daily. But I'm not always working on a draft. Sometimes I'm editing, sometimes I'm on vacation (a real vacation that includes neon coloured drinks with absurd miniature paper umbrellas), and sometimes the minutia of life rises up like a tsunami and sidetracks me.  

Even when I don't have a WIP I'm trying to coax from the ether I still write daily. I blog, I do a writing exercise or I work on flash fiction.

The bottom line is that I've found if I don't write every day then it gets more difficult to write when I need to sit down and spend a few hours doing that creative thing writers do where we capture a story and put it into words.

Ways To Write Every Day

After years of writing, I've noticed certain things about myself, my writing routine, and I thought I'd pass them on in case you're one of those people who's a bit like me.

Here are some suggestions for ways to write every day:

1. Write and publish a blog post, even a short one. It can be extremely satisfying to write something, finish it, proof it, and publish it all on the same day, especially if you're used to writing 60,000+ word novels. If you don't have a blogging platform, here are a couple of articles that can step you through choosing one:

- Choosing a Blogging Platform over at
- How Do I Start a Blog? over at

(BTW, I don't have any sort of affiliate relationship with BloggingBasics101, I just think those two articles have a lot of useful information.)

2. Complete a writing exercise. I wasn't fond of writing exercises until recently but now I'm enjoying them. There's something about completing a short (under 300 words) story--giving it a beginning, a middle and an end and then publishing it as a comment so that others can read it and, if they like, give feedback. It generally only takes me a few minutes. I find it can be a nice warmup exercise for my writing day.

- Writers Write (Google+) has a terrific writing prompt they share every day. (Also, I've begun sharing a daily writing prompt.)

- M.J. Bush often shares picture prompts.

3. Create short pieces of flash fiction and publish them. When I'm not busy writing an early draft of my WIP I try and finish one flash fiction story a week. I'll publish these either on my website or on Google+ (often under a pen name!). I find that doing these pieces as part of a writing challenge really helps me finish them. There's something about a group of people writing at the same time, committed to the same goal, to help keep me on track.

- #SaturdayScenes (Google+). +John Ward started the Saturday Scenes community a few weeks ago. It's a place where folks can share a piece of short fiction (generally under 1,000 words) and read the fiction of others. I've been having a lot of fun getting to know fellow writers and reading their work. I encourage you to check out the community.

We all have scenes we loved but had to cut, or trunk stories that have been gathering dust, #SaturdayScenes is a fun way of getting them in front of readers.

- Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenges. Every Friday Chuck Wendig puts together a flash fiction challenge that, in some way, relies on random chance. Here are the challenges from the last few weeks: @YouAreCarrying, Bad Parents, Doing The Subgenre Twist, Once Again.

4. Keep a journal. I used to think that my non-fiction writing shouldn't count as daily writing, but that's crazy! As I've mentioned, above, you can blog but you can also keep a private journal. Talk about what you've done that day, or how the weather makes you feel or how Aunt Joan would make a really good murderer. (I'm kidding Aunt Joan, love ya!)

Something I've been meaning to try for years is keeping a fake diary. I'd imagine I'd discovered one of my neighbours is an alien (yes, I've watched The 'Burbs a few times; perhaps a few times too many!). It could be a fun way to get some writing done and perhaps spark an idea or three. (I think I would write, "This is writing practise," above each entry so no one takes me seriously!)

5. Wattpad. I'm playing with the idea of writing a series of flash fiction stories that flow into each other, each forming an episode in a larger story. Perhaps they could be linked by the characters, or the situation or ... well, anything! It would be interesting to serialize something like this through Wattpad

That's it! 

Question: What do you do to write every day?

Photo credit: "Alien Life Of The Party" by JD Hancock under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Wednesday, July 9

Five Reasons To Write Flash Fiction

Five Reasons To Write Flash Fiction

Today I want to talk about flash fiction and why I think writers, especially beginning writers, should think about writing more of it. But first ...

Flash fiction: What the heck is it?

A work of flash fiction is "a work of extreme brevity." (Flash Fiction, Wikipedia). Although there is no generally accepted definition for what that means in terms of word count, "flash fiction" is often used to indicate a work that is less than 1,000 words in length.[1] 

One of the shortest stories I've ever read--and (arguably) one of the shortest stories it is possible to write, since it contains only six words--is Ernest Hemingway's:

"For Sale, Baby Shoes: Never Worn."
-- Ernest Hemingway

But it can seem odd to call both a 1,000 word story and a 6 word story by the same name. After all, one is a full-blown story while the other could be a tweet. Because of this some folks have begun to call extremely short works of fiction--works of, say, 300 words or fewer--micro-fiction.

Whatever name you would like to use, the kind of stories I'm talking about in this article are, as the dictionary definition has it, works of extreme brevity. To me that means works of less than (give or take) 1,000 words.

The Top Five Reasons To Write Flash Fiction

1. Flash fiction is quick--both to write and to read. 

The more you practise writing--and reading!--the better you'll become. Flash fiction is a quick read, by reading flash fiction you can accelerate the learning curve.

I'm not talking about passively reading, sitting back and reading for pleasure--though there's certainly nothing wrong with that! In fact, I think it's a must. But writers need to actively read complete stories.

Also, writers need to read to discover (a) what the author was trying to achieve (reader identification, building suspense, etc.) and (b) how they did it. 

Or didn't. I think it's just as valuable to recognize an author was attempting to create a certain effect and that it didn't happen. We've all had this experience, we're reading along, happy as a clam, and then the text falls flat and we're thrown out of the story. 

If we're a writer we don't just get angry and throw the book against the wall (though we may be tempted), instead we ask ourselves: What effect was the writer going for and why didn't he/she pull it off? Even more importantly, we ask: How could I re-write this snippet so that the effect does happen?

2. The more stories you finish writing, the better you'll become.

It's not enough to write a lot and read a lot. As Neil Gaiman says, it's just as important to finish what one starts. After all, I could write, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," every single day for the rest of my life and I can guarantee you it wouldn't improve me as a writer!

It is much easier to finish a 900 word piece of flash fiction--I can do that in about two hours--than it is to finish an 80,000 word novel.

3. Writing--and reading--flash fiction gives you confidence.

Reading the flash fiction of peer writers--people who have reached the same stage of this crazy journey you have--can help you because it can help you see your work in a new way.

Let me explain. When you read the work of peer authors you're bound to come across beautifully written stories. Yes, sure, this can be demoralizing if you think your stories have all the appeal of a white room, but you'll also see that these same authors don't always get it right. They'll stumble and when they do you'll see it. That is, you'll see where their prose went flat or their story turned left when it should have gone right and then something amazing and wonderful will happen to you: you'll be able to see these things in your own work

Or, maybe not. Maybe you're different from me. For myself, when I read a story I've written it's impossible to get past the story in my head. When I read a line I know what the line is supposed to say because I've got the story dancing around my brain. Unfortunately often the line doesn't say what I want it to and I can't see that because I'm too close to the story, I'm too connected

When I read another persons work and I see the flaw in their work often something will click, a mental connection will be made, and I'll suddenly realize that's what I've done too. But, often, I'll need to see this mistake in another person's work, first, before I'll see it in my own.

4. Writing flash fiction can give you an audience.

When we start out we write stories that we look back on in later years and quietly, reverently--even tearfully--inter in trunks and (if you're me) in shoeboxes under the bed. But those stories were important, they needed to be written. If they hadn't been written we'd never have gotten better. We'd never have improved.

It helps (especially when one first starts out) to share our writing--even if it is far from perfect--with others. 

Why? Because ...

First, every writer needs encouragement, especially in the beginning. 

Second, beginning writers need encouragement that doesn't come from their mother! Mother's have to love everything you've written, it comes with the job description.

5. Writing flash fiction makes it easier to make connections with other writers.

Readers love flash fiction. Yes, sure, there are probably exceptions, people who want to focus exclusively on longform fiction, but in general readers would prefer to critique a 1,000 word piece of fiction rather than a 100,000 word piece because ... well, because the most important thing a writer can do--and the thing they must do--is write. Time is precious and while it is important to critique the work of others the single most important thing a writer can do is write.

Joining A Writing Community

A terrific way to motivate yourself to write is by joining a community that helps motivate its members to not only write regularly, but to publicly share what they've written. 

Saturday Scenes on Google+ (#SaturdayScenes)

I'm a member of one such community: SaturdayScenes. Saturday Scenes was created by +John Ward with the intention of giving writers a friendly nudge to write more, to publish what they've written, and to read and comment on the work of others. 

Each saturday participating writers publish a scene (generally each scene is no more than 500 or 1,000 words) on their Google+ profile and then share a link to that post with the community. 

Saturday Scenes is only a few weeks old, but already a vibrant community has formed, one held together by the shared experience of publishing work and having it read, and commented upon, by others. 

For the last few Saturdays I've been sharing scenes from one of my "under the bed" stories, one that I've gone back to and fixed up. It's also a good way to share scenes that you love but which you've had to cut from a novel.

Another terrific organization I've belonged to for a number of years is Critters, run by Andrew Burt (Aburt). If you join you'll need to commit to doing a critique a week, but in return you are pretty much guaranteed to get several thoughtful critiques of your own work.

Interested? Read more here: What is Critters?

Note: focuses on short stories over 2,000 words long. You can submit flash fiction pieces but they aren't worth as much reading credit.

That's it! Have you written any flash fiction? If so, tell us about it. Did you enjoy writing it? What about reading the flash fiction of others?


1. I say this based solely on my experiences, how I've seen the word used. In putting up these descriptions I don't mean to imply that this is what the words mean, full stop, but only to make it clear how I am using these words.

Photo credit: "the tide comes in - wet feet" by *Light Painting* under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Friday, April 12

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Choose Your Opening Line

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Choose Your Opening Line

I love Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenges!

While I haven't succeeded in writing a 1,000 word short story that I could enter, I have succeeded in writing a 5,000 word short story which is something I've been trying to do for a while. Before that they ended up being over 10,000 words and heading into novella territory.

This particular challenge has my muse all perked up and ready to go.

The Challenge

Choose one of the following and make it the first sentence of your story:
1. Once James accepted that he had no choice but to burn the books, the question became which to burn first. — Valerie Valdes

2. Prima donnas aren’t born.
 — Mari Bayo

3. The ghost of a sparrow flitted through one wall and out the other.
 — CJ Eggett

4. I was born beneath a black veil of mourning, a dark bud blooming deep in its shadow. — 
Gina Herron

5. It’s always midnight somewhere.  – Andrew Jack

6. My brother’s birth was preceded by three distinct and inexplicable phenomena. — Jason Heitkamper

7. Max sat amongst the dead, whistling to himself.  – Brad

8. For the second time in a week, I come over Shatter Hill at midnight and see fire at the crossroad below.  – Bill Cameron

9. I never trusted that statue in the garden behind the house.
 — Cat York

10. Larry was on the toilet, shitting his brains out, while cleaning his gat.
  – The Philosophunculist

11. The problem with the ringing phone wasn’t how loud it was, or that it hadn’t stopped ringing for an hour, but that Tom didn’t have a phone. — Jake Bible

12. When the last cherry blossom falls, so will my axe.
  – Delilah

13. “You must walk three paces behind me,” she said. “And never raise your eyes to mine.” — Nathan Long

14. Tommy beat him with a kiss, and the crowd hated him for it. — Hector Acosta
Each of the 14 sentences, above, were chosen from over 400 comments left by contributors on Chuck Wendig's blog post last week: Flash Fiction Challenge: The Kick-Ass Opening Line.

Chuck picked three lucky winners who will receive a pre-order of his book Blue Blazes.

The Winners: Chuck Wendig's Picks

3. The ghost of a sparrow flitted through one wall and out the other.
 — CJ Eggett

13. "You must walk three paces behind me,” she said. “And never raise your eyes to mine.” — Nathan Long

12. When the last cherry blossom falls, so will my axe.
 – Delilah
Great choices! Here are my favorites:
9. I never trusted that statue in the garden behind the house.
 — Cat York

11. The problem with the ringing phone wasn’t how loud it was, or that it hadn’t stopped ringing for an hour, but that Tom didn’t have a phone. — Jake Bible

5. It’s always midnight somewhere. – Andrew Jack
All 14 first sentences were creative and contained effective 'hooks' (for more on what makes an effective hook: here and here).

Chuck Wendig's Prize This Week

Although Chuck Wendig is sending Jake, Delilah and Nathan copies of Blue Blazes, he hasn't finished giving stuff away. He writes:
The goal is simple:

To write a story using one of the opening lines above. You can choose from the whole lot — not just the three “winners.” Any of the opening lines you find on this page (again, I think I’ve listed 14 of ‘em) are open game. Choose your opening line and write a piece of flash fiction (up to 1000 words) with that line as the opener. Post it at your online space, link back here.

I’ll choose one person’s story — just one! — to win autographed copies of my books Blackbirds, Mockingbird, and Gods & Monsters. This is open only to US residents (international are welcome to play, but the best prize I can offer you is e-copies of my writing books).
Maybe this will be the week I'll get my story under 1,000 words! (fingers crossed)

Remember: To enter the contest, post your story on your blog then leave a comment, with a link to your story, on Chuck Wendig's blog post.

Question: Which three opening lines (of the 14, above) are your favorite?

Other articles you might like:

- Is Writing Rewriting?
- PubIt! Rebranded as NOOK Press
- Every Buffy Needs A Xander: What Makes A Great Sidekick

Photo credit: "chess" by nestor galina under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Friday, February 15

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Write What You Know

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Write What You Know

I was going to post an inspirational quotation having to do with writing but then I saw Chuck Wendig's latest Flash Fiction Challenge (Flash Fiction Challenge: Write What You Know) and it was just too good not to post about!

Here's the challenge:
I want you to grab an event from your life. Then I want you to write about it through a fictional, genre interpretation — changing the event from your life to suit the story you’re telling. So, maybe you write about your first hunting trip between father-and-son, but you reinterpret that as a king taking his youngest out to hunt dragons. Or, you take events from your Prom (“I caught my boyfriend cheating on me in the science lab”) and spin it so that the event happens at the same time a slasher killer is making literal mincemeat of the Prom King and Queen.
Length: 1,000 words

Due by: Friday, February 22nd, noon EST.

How to enter: Post your story on your blog or website and leave the link in a comment to Chuck Wendig's post.

Photo credit: "Project 50 - Day #1 (Moleskine)" by seanmcgrath under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Tuesday, January 8

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge

Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge

I just learnt about Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge from a nice person in John Ward's Writer's Discussion Group

It's a fun challenge that doesn't take a lot of time since your story has to be under 1,000 words. It's nice to write something one can (theoretically!) write and edit in a few hours.

Here are the rules (I've copied this from Chuck's website, terribleminds):
I’m going to give you three categories. You will pick randomly from each category, maybe with a d10 or using a random number generator. From your choices, you’ll have 1000 words to write some flash fiction. Post this fiction at your online space. Link back here. Due by Friday, January 11th, at noon EST.
Chuck gives you a SUBGENRE a SETTING and an item or kind of thing your story MUST FEATURE. Actually, he gives you 10 in each category and then you randomly select one.

It's a fun idea! This way chances are everyone is writing a different kind of story with its own unique challenges. Here's the link if you're interested:

When you're done, don't forget to publish the story on your blog and leave the link in a comment to Chuck's post.

Other articles you might like:

- The Starburst Method: The Hero's Journey, Part 1
- How To Format A Word Document For Uploading To Amazon
- 19 Ways To Grow Your Twitter Following

Photo credit: "5:00am… Wake up before the sun, start to run." by Untitled blue under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Thursday, December 13

How To Write A Twitter Story

How To Write A Twitter Story

Twitter is a new, challenging, medium for storytelling, one with its own set of quirks. Today I'd like to take a look at the subject of writing for Twitter. Not novels, not at this stage at least! But short works like short stories or flash fiction.

How To Write Good Twitter Flash Fiction

Gayle Beveridge in How To Write A Good Twitter Story gives three wonderful tips:

a) Your story must have a beginning, a middle and an end

Just like it's longer cousin a story must have a structure, there must be movement, an arc. Gayle gives the following example of a story without an end:
At an auction they bought a box of stuff and spent a melancholy evening reading the one hundred year old love letters of complete strangers.
Here it is with one:
At auction they bought a box of stuff, spent a melancholy night reading the 100-year-old love letters of complete strangers and loved anew.

b) Your story must have a character that needs something

Gayle gives the following example:
A full story will have a character who must deal with something. The following story lacks impact as its character is not challenged; she does not want for anything.
During El-Nino the angler fish rose to the surface. While her husband fished she found them, floating dead.
Add tension and a dull story about a fishing trip becomes one of a women struggling with a mundane life.
During El-Nino the angler fish rose to the surface. While her husband fished she found them. Floating. Dead. She sighed, "They are my life."

 c) Your story must be easy to read

Pronouns are your friend, don't omit them to squeeze more words into 140 characters. Again, here's Gayle's example:
Stonemason chips away at last job before retirement. Will be best.  Passion carved headstone. Written words of love, 'My beloved, my wife'.
Rewrite the story and test it by reading it aloud.
A stonemason chips away at his last job before retirement. It will be his best.  A headstone, carved with passion. 'My beloved, my wife'.
All quotations in this section are from Gayle Beveridge's excellent article: How To Write A Good Twitter Story

A Tweet Sized Story: Examples

In October a number of well-known authors were asked to write what may be the ultimate flash fiction: they were asked to write a story in 140 characters or less. Here are a few:

Ian Rankin:

I opened the door to our flat and you were standing there, cleaver raised. Somehow you'd found out about the photos. My jaw hit the floor.

Geoff Dyer

I know I said that if I lived to 100 I'd not regret what happened last night. But I woke up this morning and a century had passed. Sorry.

Jeffrey Archer

"It's a miracle he survived," said the doctor. "It was God's will," said Mrs Schicklgruber. "What will you call him?" "Adolf," she replied.

You can read the rest here: Twitter fiction: Twitter fiction: 21 authors try their hand at 140-character novels.

Also, if you want to read wonderfully spooky stories that are only 140 characters are less, click here: Scared Twitless.

Tweeting A Longer Tale: The Short Story on Twitter

i. Make the plot appropriate to the format

In 2009 Rick Moody published a short story in 153 consecutive tweets, one each hour. Moody said he tried to make his plot--a story about online dating--appropriate for the "merciless brevity" of Twitter. (See: Are Tweets Literature? Rick Moody Thinks They Can Be)

Brandon J. Mendelson, another Tweeting pioneer, agrees. He writes
If a character is mugged at 6am, you could post a police announcement on the Twitter novel looking for the perpetrator. What are the characters listening to on the radio? Is someone calling them that’s important to the story? Use Twitpic to show a photo of one of your friends or an actor to show the reader who is calling or what the mugger looks like. (How to Start a Twitter Novel)

ii. Have A Roadmap

Have an outline but don't let that limit your creativity. (See: Mary Robinette Kowal and The Mysteries of Outlining)

iii. Don't Be A Slave To The Machine

Use a service like Hootsuite to schedule tweets.

iv. Don't Overload Readers

Brandon recommends tweeting no more than 5 times a day while Rick Moody tweeted once an hour. Find what works for you and your readers. If you have a website perhaps put up a poll and ask them.

v. Move The Story Forward With Each Tweet

This is true for any story, but especially a tweeted one. Each and every tweet must advance the story. If it doesn't, cut it.

vi. Be Kind To Newbies

Brandon mentions that, with luck, you'll get new followers/readers as you go. Set up a page on your website--or create a simple website if you don't have one already--that contains all the tweets in the story so far, including the day/time they were tweeted, if that's important. Then put the URL to the page in your Twitter Bio so it appears at the top of the page.


- How to Write Twitter Stories (Tzvetan Todorov's five stages of narrative)

Other articles you might like:

- Why Your Story Should Have A Theme
- Hugh Howey's Awesome Deal With Simon & Schuster And The Importance Of Agents
- Turning Off Your Inner Editor

Photo credit: "[ Grand Style : Grand Light : Grand Hotel ] The Langham Hotel, London, United Kingdom @ Langham Place" by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL || under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.