nano fiction, twitter fiction, microfiction, tiny tales

Short Stories Written in 140 Characters or Less

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how to write nano fiction

A twitter story must be written within the 140 character limit imposed by that medium. That’s around twenty five words; but is it really enough to tell a tale. The answer, a resounding yes, is evidenced by the growing number of people taking up the twitter fiction challenge. Without wanting to apply rules to constrain this literary art form, I thought we might take a moment to talk about what makes a good twitter story.

A story should have a beginning, middle and an end, albeit that may be by implication. Consider the following story, which lacks a conclusion.

At an auction they bought a box of stuff and spent a melancholy evening reading the one hundred year old love letters of complete strangers.

Add an end and the story not only becomes complete but is more meaningful.

At auction they bought a box of stuff, spent a melancholy night reading the 100-year-old love letters of complete strangers and loved anew.

A full story will have a character who must deal with something. The following story lacks impact as its character is not challenged; she does not want for anything.

During El-Nino the angler fish rose to the surface. While her husband fished she found them, floating dead.

Add tension and a dull story about a fishing trip becomes one of a women struggling with a mundane life.

During El-Nino the angler fish rose to the surface. While her husband fished she found them. Floating. Dead. She sighed, "They are my life."

A story also needs to be easy to read. Resist the temptation to meet the 140 character restriction by omitting words or pronouns, instead rewrite the story. The reader’s mind will stumble on the following story,

Stonemason chips away at last job before retirement. Will be best. Passion carved headstone. Written words of love, 'My beloved, my wife'.

Rewrite the story and test it by reading it aloud.

A stonemason chips away at his last job before retirement. It will be his best. A headstone, carved with passion. 'My beloved, my wife'.

Copyright 2011 Gayle Beveridge