Want a challenge in writing that tests you limitations? Try to Tweet your novel!
For a last several years I’ve tried new challenges to test my writing skill. I joined a website called 100 Words.com where you wrote one post, exactly 100 words, every day for the entire month. Most of the participants were writing journal or diary entries. I started this as well but then thought, what if I wrote a story 100 words at a time? That was more of a challenge! Not only did I have a limit of 100 words, but also I wanted to make each entry complete so that you didn’t arrive at word 100 in the middle of a thought or piece of action.
In addition I took place in several Round Robin type community stories in which one would start a story and each person would contribute a scene to it. The drawback on this type of story is that everyone had their own idea and attempted to take the story in a completely different direction. I’d tried to draw the story back to its original focal point but with very minimal success.
So my latest writing challenge came to me at work when I thought about Twitter and the fact that you have only 140 characters to deal with in each tweet. The idea of a detective story came to me one morning at work; actually it was the DNA scene and the rest evolved from it. For 5 hours I wrote fifteen tweets of the story with absolutely no idea what the story was about and where it was going. My only goal was to start a scene in traditional form and then hang a sharp 90-degree turn at the end to throw the reader off balance.
Below is the result as written with a few minor edits:
A Detective Story: 1 Tweet at a time.
I got a call about a possible homicide. I wrote down the address. “Damn!” I muttered, it wasn’t my ex-wife.
3 million people in the naked city, each with a dirty story to tell. I live in the country fully clothed.
115 degrees and I’m sweating bullets in my car. Apparently Junior was playing with controls again.
I arrive at the apartment and the landlord gives me a strange look. Guess he’s never seen a detective before. The eye patch may be overkill.
“You some kind of private eye?” He asked. I nod and silently curse my demotion from Corporal.
He led me upstairs to the apartment. There was DNA all over the crime scene. He licked everything!
As I combed through the place looking for clues, I knew this case would be tough. I put the comb away and used my fingers instead.
The body was in the bathtub. What confused me is how he drowned while holding onto a floatation device.
Before I left I gave the landlord one of my cards. The Jack of Diamonds.
Driving back to the office my left leg began to twitch. I picked the wrong day to give up Morris Dancing.
I needed something to calm my nerves, something strong. I stopped and ordered a double espresso.
I went to the diner next door and Doris gave me the usual; a slap across the face. Forgot to call her…again.
As I looked over the crime scene photos I got break in the case! The floatation device was photo shopped onto the victim.
I needed more information but didn’t know where to turn. My library card was revoked. Something about a cigarette and a fire.
I put Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” story to the test and suddenly I’M the bad guy.
What does this all prove? Well, besides the fact that some days I have too much time at work it shows that with a little creative thinking, a story could be written with a limitation of only 140 characters at a time.