Confessions of a Twitter Novelist

My name is Robert K. Blechman and I am a Twitter novelist. I have written a fast, funny murder mystery entirely in Twitter, that is 140 characters at a time, that has been published in book form under the title “Executive Severance.”

Starting on May 6, 2009, I conducted a literary experiment: Was it possible to maintain a narrative structure and attract a reading public in Twitter, 140 characters at a time? Posting a new Executive Severance “tweet” twice a day, every day, never missing a deadline, I completed my “twitstery” or twitter mystery in 15 months. The 140 character limit of Twitter required intensive wordsmithing, creative editing, the omission of punctuation in some cases and a lot of counting. To succeed I adopted the narrative strategies of newspaper comic strip cartoonists like Al Capp (creator of L’il Abner) and Chester Gould (creator of Dick Tracy) as well as the mystery composing examples Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker.

Midway through my creative efforts I was approached by NeoPoiesis Press, asking to bring my Twitter postings together in book form. We added fantastic illustrations by reknown artist David Arshawsky and released the completed “Executive Severance” as the beginning of this year. Sales so far have been very encouraging.

I continue to tweet at RKBs_Twitstery and I maintain an Executive Severance companion blog “Whale Fire” at www.executiveseverance.blogspot.com. I am hard at work on a follow-up novel to Executive Severance.


Comments

Confessions of a Twitter Novelist — 4 Comments

  1. What a fun and creative idea! It looks like maintaining a daily discipline was key in achieving your goal. Any tips on how you managed to do that for 15 months? And any other advice for writers staring a blank page?

    • The twice daily deadline was indeed a motivator! Encouragement from my readers and ultimately by my publisher helped me continue for 15 months. The sense that it was working and the gratification I gained from the creative act were my rewards. I followed three rules: 1. No self-censorship. 2. Break rules whenever possible 3. Have fun. 4. There is no 4th rule.

  2. I am guessing that you might have employed a clever goal-meeting trick at times, that of meeting the goal (in this case, two written tweets) early so that you could give yourself a day off from goal attainment. Did you do that? Does that work in other areas for other readers?

    • It would be interesting to hear back and see if he did that…I’m always doing it the other way:  Doing two or three times as much *after* I miss a day or two of whatever writing project I’m working on! 

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