I’ve mentioned before how much fun I have with the Tweet Me a Story contests run by NYC Midnight. The challenge of creating a complete story in such a small space gives me a writer’s high (which thankfully involves much less sweat than a runner’s high). In a seemingly random segue, the other day I unearthed a 2011 Merriam-Webster’s word-a-day calendar I bought last year and promptly forgot about as soon as the sparkly ball dropped. Not wanting to waste those 365 treasured words, I’ve decided to use the old calendar for a daily tweet story challenge.
Each day a new year-old word will be the prompt for a tale told in less than 140 characters. But since I tend to obsess over and tweak my stories to death, I’m giving myself a time limit for each one. Once I tear off the calendar page to reveal the new word, I'll only have fifteen minutes to craft my masterpiece, and then I’ll tweet the story, no matter how much it makes me cringe.
This daily exercise will be helpful in many ways. The most important being that by challenging myself to do this every day, I’ll exercise my writing muscles even if I don’t have time to work on my longer pieces. Also, the theory is the new words will actually stick in my forgetful brain once I’ve created a story using them (and an arsenal of big words is always better
I hope other people will participate, since my favorite part of the NYCM contests is reading the variety of stories everyone else produces using the same word. Maybe you can’t commit to a tweet tale every day, but if you have a few minutes to kill, join the fun and stretch yourself creatively. I’ll use the hashtag #15tt (for fifteen minute tweet tales) when tweeting the word of the day and my resulting tale. And even though it uses up five of the precious 140 characters, I hope others also use the #15tt hashtag if they play along, so we can easily find and read their tweet tales.
Each Tuesday I’ll bundle my tweet tales from the previous week in a post on the blog and invite others to share their tweet tales in the comments. Yeah, I know Tuesday is a random day for a round-up post, but I just love the alliteration of Tweet Tales Tuesday.
And while I’m not an expert at writing micro-fiction, here are a few of my tweet stories from past NYCM contests as examples (I've bolded the assigned word from NYCM):
She caressed the sway back of her dying horse, overwhelmed by childhood memories. Sobbing, she loaded him on a trailer bound to nowhere.
Comrades lost to roadside bombs. Buddies sent home draped in flags. The numb marine didn’t shed a tear until he left his Baghdad pup behind.
The dusty dolls stuffed in the closet mourn silently as their no-longer-little girl tries on outfits for a less innocent game of pretend.
I pretend we’re driving to the dog park. He knows I’m lying, but wags his tail through the pain. It will all be over soon.
Deep below the frigid water, Jack finally finds his treasure - the sun sparkling like gold on waves too far to reach with an empty tank.
I’m looking forward to creating and reading new tweet tales throughout the year!
Have you ever written any micro-fiction? Are you going to craft some tweet tales this year? Don't forget to use the hashtag #15tt if you post your tales on twitter.