“Man is Dust”

A story in ten tweets

A friend wondered whether Twitter could be an effective medium for storytelling, and I was drawn to the idea.

We weighed the pros and cons, but in the end I decided it wasn’t a big investment and dug in.

I liked the process. It didn’t take long. I wrote all ten up front and posted them by copy-pasting into Twitter. I’ll probably do it again in the near future, as a warmup exercise or just to kill time.

With only 140 characters to get a point across, efficiency is part of the medium. So I went with a minimalistic format for the numbering (#/).

Why number them at all? I don’t really know, except that I’ve seen the same method being used on nonfiction rants and I like it. It’s intuitive. I also wanted the lines of my story to be connected to something larger if they were pulled out of context in someone’s timeline.

I haven’t tried any poetry yet, but I gravitate to prose and get pleasure out of the sprawling nature of a sequential narrative. One tweet just never seems enough.

For other examples of fiction on Twitter, check out @george_szirtes, a poet who does it well. His words roll beautifully through several tweets at a time. I’m also a fan of @veryshortstory. Their stories tend to feel compressed for me, but every once in a while a real gem tumbles out.

What’s your opinion? Is Twitter an effective medium for short form storytelling?

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