“When you begin to think about Twitter as not just the tweet, not just 140 characters alone in a sea of 140-character tweets, but as collections of tweets, that becomes very powerful,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, who works with authors and other creatives to tell stories on Twitter.
During a presentation at the New York City Library on Thursday, Fitzgerald discussed Twitter’s first ever “Fiction Festival.” The completely online event, which will take place from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, will begin accepting submissions today, Oct. 18.
Fitzgerald points to Jennifer Egan’s short story “Black Box,” which the New Yorker tweeted line by line in 10 nightly installments this summer, as a model for storytelling on Twitter. Part of the objective of the new contest, he said, is to discover additional formats for storytelling on the platform.
“Right now we believe Twitter is a wide-open frontier for creative experimentation,” he said.
“[We want] to push the outward bounds of what people think about when they think about storytelling on Twitter … We think it’s important to do this experimentation to see how far we can go with the tweet and beyond the tweet.”
Aside from Twitter’s flexibility and built-in audience, Fitzgerald pointed to the potential to create characters as a boon to creativity on the platform. For instance, Invisible Obama (“a great real-time reaction to a shared cultural moment”), KarlTheFog, and MayorEmanuel.
“On Twitter, we don’t require you to use your real identity … while this is perhaps most famous as being famous for political speech on Twitter, it’s also, we believe very important for creative experimentation.”
But will the next great American novel really fit into 140-character chunks?
“I like to think of 140 characters as a filter, not a limit,” Fitzgerald says. “Almost as if Twitter comes in with a built-in editor that forces you to refine your prose.”
Image: Flickr user nutmeg66