Friday, October 9, 2009

Twitter-Lit: The Opportunities for Writers Keep on Coming!

We’re all familiar with adaptation. What novelist doesn’t want his or her book adapted to a movie? Everything is open for the adaptation magnet: poems, books, comics, commercials, everything. This truth is no less true now with so-called new media. As the Internet evolves, so do the windows for creative expression. We now have the first Twitter-lit adaptation to film.

What the hell is Twitter-lit, you ask? Good question. It’s essentially a Twitter haiku. Somebody writes a 140-character fictional message, rather than talking about what he or she had for lunch, or how the job interview was a disaster. As fascinating as your life might be that you have to tell the world what you're doing every 10 minutes, imagine how much fun it might be to just make things up? Because everyone tells EXACTLY what they are doing, and never embellish or make things up on Twitter--right? So, think fiction. Think short. Now think even shorter. Now you're in the ballpark.

This is an exploding phenom, or so Twitter claims. There are more and more people jumping onto this flash-fictionesque platform. Twitter-lit authors submit daily “stories” and are finding a following. This is certainly familiar to fans of flash fiction. This form of fiction (flash) has many devotees, and there is no real agreement on what constitutes flash fiction, but some go as low as 300-word max. Never more than 1000 words.

The most famous form of flash fiction, of course, is the one Hemingway created that was only six-words long: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." This is, in fact, archetypal Twitter-lit. Twitter imposes a maximum character length for any post of 140 characters. So, not unlike other physical formats (poetry, screenplays, short stories, etc.) technology is placing limits on writers, and we must step up to the challenge to prove creativity has no limits, even when they are artificially imposed by the information superhighway pipeline requirements.

Apparently, Twitter-lit authors are pulling it off, because one of them just got adapted to film. See this post from the Mediabistro Galleycat blog by Jason Boog on Oct 08, 2009:

"The world's first Twitter-lit adaptation has won the People's Choice Award at the International Filminute competition. Twitter author Arjun Basu rallied his army of Twitter readers, a readership gained as Basu publishes bite-sized, fictional tweets like this short-short story every day: "They tolerated the ennui of their jobs, bought off by promises of spectacular riches sometime in the future. At retirement, they bought guns." Now Canadian director James Cooper adapted one of Basu's stories into a minute-long film called "Life." As the press release about the winning films shows, the short film genre is booming--start writing your Twitter scripts today... "

So, get out your stubbiest pencil and start writing your pithy, action-packed, visually-stunning Twitter-lit so that all those production companies and studios who regularly farm through these sorts of things looking for the "next big thing" can find you and sign you to a seven-figure deal. Or if that has little or no attraction to you (God, I hope so for your sake), then just do it 'cause it's bloody fun. I just might myself.

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