Twitter Stories

Some people think the attention span of today’s readers is shrinking rapidly. No wonder writers are increasingly creating micro stories, flash fiction, and six-word stories. It is inevitable that 140-character twitter stories are becoming popular.

Twitter Authors

Arjun Basu, an award winning Montreal-based author, calls his less-than-140-character stories twisters. You can read his work on twitter at .

Here’s a sample of one of his twisters:

She took me home. It was the largest house I’d ever been in, and I promptly got lost. By the time I found her, she’d been married six years.

Sean Hill is another established author who writes twitter stories. He calls them very short stories. You can read his work on twitter at . You can also visit his web site and buy his book, Very Short Stories, which collects 300 twitter stories.

Here’s a sample from Sean Hill’s very short stories:

Gerald cared for his mom's neglected plants. Grateful, a fern felt compelled to speak, "Thank you." Terrified, he got rid of the plants.

Max writes very short stories about people and things. You can read Max's work . Here’s a sample:

America! Freedom! Hot dogs! Fifty years later, Uncle Enzo had tried all three and decided hot dogs offered the best bang for your buck.

I am sure that there are several other story tweeters. If you know of someone, let us know in the comments section.

Other Famous Authors

The Guardian challenged 21 well-known authors to try their hand at twitter stories. They called them 140-character novels. You can read the collection at .

My favorite entry is this one by Ian Rankin (who is also one of my favorite mystery writers):

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.

Twitter Chains

Presenting a short story in a series of tweets is an interesting approach.

You can read David Mitchell’s short story “The Right Sort”. Luckily, you don’t have to wait for one tweet at a time: All the tweets are collected here:

Teju Cole, the well-known author of the novel Open City, recently posted this tweet:

. . . to the subway, I saw a man on the ground. He sat on the sidewalk, under trees, with his feet out to the quiet street.

This was immediately followed by other people’s tweets to produce a coherent story about a homeless man who has a heart attack. Read more about this co-creation—and the entire story—in this Slate article:

Making Fun of Me

I have been trying my hand at twitter stories to laugh at my own pretenses as a trainer and performance technologist. Here are a few of my attempts that were retweeted by others:

  • In my report, I recounted how I systematically designed the training. I did not mention that I merely rewrote the Wikipedia entry.
  • He felt guilty not having thanked his Kindergarten teacher. He wanted to do it now, but it’d be too much of a hassle to dig her up.
  • In 1954, he took time off to learn more about different performance-improvement interventions. We haven’t heard from him since.
  • This PowerPoint presentation is boring. Do something before I fall asl
  • The course came with a lifetime guarantee. Alas, the trainer died before I could ask for a refund.
  • Impressive performance test results for unarmed combat training: Seven dead, 15 injured.

Your Turn

Yes, you can write your own twitter stories that are better than mine. Go ahead, impress me. Post your tweet in the comments section below.