Wednesday 15 April 2009

Novel writing on Twitter!

A few people have expressed shock that I haven't gone on Twitter yet. I don't think I'm ready. I don't understand how it works.That said, I've been hugely tempted especially after the #queryfail, #agentfail, #writerfail debacle.

Then along comes Kathleen Duey (Skin Hunger)

Kathleen is tweeting a novel!

Okay, to those who don't get Twitter it's micro-blogging (tweets are your postings) - as in, blogging but only at 140 characters at a time. Some blogging friends of mine are totally sold. It's concise, you say what you want to say, then you move on. No hours spent planning, sourcing images, researching links.

But a novel?

I think it's a stunning new think on storytelling. Says Kathleen:
It is HUGE, terrifying, fun writing!
Check out Kathleen's Twitter novel in progress. You can read it chronologically on her Myspace page.If you decide to follow Kathleen on Twitter, you will only get the novel. Here's why Kathleen does it:
After years of being a craft sponge who wrote good (I hope) books for specific market slots, I am writing art-driven books. Skin Hunger was the first of these. Sacred Scars will be out August 2009. I am lately chasing artistic experiments. This one is public, terrifying, and seems to be working so far. I am not plotting the story. I am channeling a single character. Russet talks, I type. My central task is to stay out of his way. He has spent a lifetime not talking, brevity comes naturally to him so the twitter format works well. The plot that is emerging astounds me.
You can't comment like you do on a normal blog. Unless of course you are on Twitter. If you want to comment or ask a question, Kathleen set up this comments page on MySpace.
The rules:
Russet talks, I listen and type.
Once written, no revision.
When he stops talking, I post the Tweets. Then I add them to the MySpace archive.
Then I do other work.

I don't know what I expected but it's an amazing experience so far. Russet is absolutely real for me. So is the man with one wing.
So my writerly friends. How about it?


  1. btw kathleen, i'm trying to be a craft sponge too. it's hard.

  2. Fascinating. I like it but since I've not bought into the whole twitter thing yet, I'm not sure it's something I'd pursue. But I really like the tight writing - nothing like 140 characters to discipline you! I suppose success depends in part to how many of Kathleen's target audience use twitter - and how much word of mouth punts it too via myspace etc.

    As I said on your fb post, I really like it, not just for the tightness of writing, but because it works in an unexpected kind of way. And I really like and admire the artistic endeavour of the thing.

  3. I had posted my late wife's novel Cowboy on twitter over six months and 3500 tweets. She would have loved the idea of posting this way. In particular, the idea of writing a story at starts at the end. It can be seen at I needed to show the forward reading version at

  4. Candy, if you have craft sticklers, you know who to call. Or email. Whatever.

    Just since we communicated over this, the story took another amazing turn. It's really interesting to me how free this feels. I mean, it's public so I guess it could collapse, publically, but on the other hand, there is no publisher, no deadline, not marketing department to please. Just Russet and me and his crazy(or not)sad father. And the man with one wing. Why ONE wing? I think this will take time to be answered.


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