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#TwitterFiction: is it a #Serious #Genre or Just #Fun?

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When I was studying creative writing at university we had this one lecturer who encouraged us to “experiment” with writing. This lecturer introduced us to the weirdest writing techniques that encouraged us to force constraints on ourselves in order to develop our minds and bring ideas together that we may not have done otherwise.

These constraints ranged from The Cut Up Method, where you cut sentences up and rearranged them to another method called The 6 Word Story  - that one speaks for itself.

These techniques were fun and did make us think differently, but really, we knew we wouldn’t get famous for these pieces of messed up prose. As pretentious and arty as we felt, this wasn’t the way to get our writing out there… or was it? 

During this experimental phase we looked at several people who had actually done the job well. My favourite example and possibly the most well-known was a piece of Flash Fiction by Ernest Hemingway. Also known as the 6 word novel, it goes like this:

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Powerful stuff. 

Twitter Fiction is the form of writing within a constraint of 140 characters. It is possibly one of the most modern forms of writing and although Hemingway had done it before the birth of Twitter, you can see how it is even more relevant to society today.

We are such a boring bunch of people. We do our daily train commute whilst sitting on social media, gone are the days of newspapers and Kindles. We just need Twitter to keep us occupied. 

Twitter Fiction is perfect for this. We can have self sufficient stories handed to us in a neat little bundle. We can read them, make sense of them, enjoy them and then scroll on. 

Don't fret though, this isn’t the death of literature. This is just a new wave for the suited and booted businessman and the prim and proper exec on the night train home.

This is not a form reserved only for 'Twitter-artists' (I made that up, it’s not actually what they want to call themselves). Everyone is getting involved. Even renowned authors like Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell. So many people do it now that Twitter have started doing yearly Twitter Fiction Festivals! 

There are so many different forms now. At first it was just Hemingway inspired stories. Then we got poetic, a little bit arty, a touch philosophical.
Then we got a bit cheeky and abandoned our original constraints, with the help of Vine and Instagram.

Some writers repeated snippets of overheard conversations whilst others quite simply made good use of the retweet function. 

Some are sad, some make you think, some make you laugh:
twitterfictionfestival.com

At the moment, the fashion is "parody accounts." Clever clogs are making accounts to look like they are notable celebrities, historical figures or fictional characters and tweet from their perspective.

It's clever because they're cutting out an exposition. There is no need to explain whose point of view it is being written from, their background or their attitudes…it’s all there sitting in that Twitter handle and profile picture


Authors have even begun writing longer pieces over a period of time, 140 characters at a time! The form is constantly growing.

I know some people will turn their nose up at this form of writing. But I think it’s ace!


Since the dawn of time, we as human beings, have been story tellers. I love that we are doing it on Twitter now, too. Our forefathers may have sat around a log fire, we as children spent time on the carpet of a classroom and now, we sit around a virtual big blue bird waiting with baited breath for the next 140 characters to appear live.



Megan Herdson

Megan is a country girl who moved to the city with some big dreams. She is studying her MA in Creative Writing whilst also managing an American Football Team.  She loves her blog and wants nothing more than to have her words read. That and to win the Championship, obviously. Follow her @MeganAtSMF

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#TwitterFiction: is it a #Serious #Genre or Just #Fun? Reviewed by Megan Herdson on Sunday, September 13, 2015 Rating: 5

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