New Venues for Virtual Storytelling

Twitter, the social platform that restricts writers to 140-characters-per-post, has announced it wants to spread its wings by sponsoring the Twitter Fiction Festival, a five-day virtual storytelling event to be held in November.

“Twitter is a place to tell stories,” Andrew Fitzgerald, of Twitter’s media team, explains on the Twitter blog. “Often those stories are about news, or politics, or perhaps sports or music, but it turns out Twitter is a great place for telling fictional stories, too.”

The Atlantic and The New Yorker have used Twitter’s live-blogging platform to experiment with storytelling. Now Twitter wants to push its technology even further.

For writers who want to participate, submit your proposal to Twitter by Thursday, Nov. 15th, explaining how you want to tell your story using existing Twitter tools, like chats, or by inventing entirely new ones. The only requirement is that your story unfold sometime during the five-day festival. Twitter will announce the names of the selected participating authors on Nov. 19th, and the festival gets under way on Nov. 28th. You can follow the event at the hashtag: #twitterfiction.

Meanwhile, if you’ve ever dreamed of penning a novel and sharing it with the world, there’s another virtual storytelling venue for you. Novel Writing Month (fondly known as NaNoWriMo by Wrimos – the particpants) kicks off on Nov. 1st.

It’s the 13th year for this event in which tens of thousands of writers scramble to complete a 50,000-word novel while friends, the spouses and children they’re ignoring, and fellow authors follow the progress online.

The goal is simply to finish, rather than to fuss and fume over perfect phrasing and editing.

Last year, more than 256,000 writers pledged to participate in NaNoWriMo; 36,843 completed their 50,000 words by the Nov. 30th deadline. As the NaNoWriMo website notes, “They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.”

The NaNoWriMo website offers a virtual community of support (and live events in your neighborhood), as well as forums for sharing your angst and glories with other authors, writing tips and support, a Young Writers Program, and a virtual space to track your progress, share your work and read novels by fellow participants.

What about you? Are you curious about the possibilities of tweaking Twitter to tell your short stories? Is there a novel you’ve been itching to write? Let us know if you plan to participate.