So, the experiment is over – for me, at least. During the whole of 2013 I wrote a short story on Twitter, at the rate of a tweet a day. And now I have a story to show for it – a 9,000 word story, in fact, which is something to think of.
You can now read it, in toto, in traditional linear fashion as a downloadable .pdf file here: J by 365daystory
To repeat what I have said elsewhere, this was written on the fly, most often on my iPhone. Nothing at all was written ahead; very little was planned ahead, beyond the very general story arc – that I would follow a character from birth to death, and that she would die at around the age of 80, and so would age at a rate of a year every four or five tweets.
The only editing I allowed myself for the .pdf version was a couple of typos corrected, *asterisked* words italicized, and paragraphing. Beyond that, it’s exactly as I tweeted it.
As an experiment it was successful on more of a personal than a global level – I thought I had alighted on a way of creating a short story on social media that would fit with people’s Twitter use, allowing them to read it almost passively, the single tweet a day keeping them interested, but not overwhelming their timeline as some other #Twitterfiction experiments have done. If people did enjoy, they were a lucky few – I only topped 100 followers a week or so before the end of the story.
I wrote something more about the story in a post on #twitterfiction, here.
Having announced in December 2013 that I would like to hand @365daystory over to a new writer on 1 January 2014, I’m very pleased to announce that this will has happened, with not one, but two writers. They are Elizabeth McGuane and Randall Snare, who collaborate on Mapped, a blog of ‘stories about stories’. They tell me that they will write their @365daystory together, which is exciting, as it means the whole project will necessarily be taken in a new direction. More than that I do not know, but I can’t wait to see what they do. Read and follow their story, ‘Unmapped, a mystery’ at www.twitter.com/@365daystory
I wish them luck, and will follow them with interest. The only rules I set them are that the story should last a year, and that they themselves should pass the account on to someone else for 2015, and so on, and so on. My tweet-per-day ratio is not part of the deal; they, and any future writer, can do more or less than that.
An experiment in ‘ambient storytelling’, ‘J’ is a story hosted on a Twitter feed (@365daystory) that I started on 1 January 2013 and will add to, at the rate of one tweet a day, until the end of the year. Intended to work equally well when read ‘straight’ in its own Twitter timeline, or ‘embedded’ in yours, if you choose to follow it, it has a very definite shape and purpose, that will become clear only as it grows. This isn’t a story that I’ve written wholesale, then chopped up into tweet-sized pieces. It is a story that I am writing as I go along, day by day. Here’s how it started
Kicked into the furious blizzard of sound and light that only later turned out to be the world, J fought and fought to die, but all in vain.