The Twitter Fiction Festival has begun. Charley is tweeting daily, although not with much enthusiasm for the form. I am following the hashtag #TwitterFiction on TweetDeck, but honestly, for all its vaunted potential, I find the content disappointing. Although Twitter, Andrew Fitzgerald (@MagicAndrew) and other organizers have held out for pushing the envelope on its uses, including making the most of the social aspect of the medium, the majority of authors seem to be marking the celebration by simply tweeting out their novels/screenplays/short stories line-by-line. What could be less fascinating than dribbling out a 10,000 word tome 140 characters at a time?
For @OutofTimeMedia, the challenge has been to attract a sizable enough regular following to encourage regular conversations between my characters and an appropriate audience. Since Out of Time is time travel fiction aimed at young adults, that means attracting the eyeballs of teens–who don’t regularly pay attention to anything they don’t have to…unless it’s something they personally feel passionate about. To legions of Harry Potter fans, if J.K. Rowling started tweeting as Harry, she’d undoubtedly start a Twitter landslide. If Katniss Everdeen jumped in online, fans would go ga-ga.
But pre-publication, this is a tougher sell. I am mid-creation, somewhere between half- and two-thirds through writing the novel. That means my story, despite its unveiling on multiple platforms (an example of an emerging trend in #transmedia storytelling, with an emphasis currently on kid-vid as an anchor), still lingers in the pre-naissance twilight. But more on this trend to come.
Charley and I soldier on nonetheless, and are slowly, but surely, attracting eyeballs and activity to the open-ended tweet-story–where you direct the action and the outcome. Check out a recent slice of the convo.
What’ll it take before the story gains online traction? First priority: publication. Get the actual story out there. Second up: take it to school. High hopes that bringing the opportunity into classrooms, around discussion of how stories are universal…how creating a story leads to strengthening writing skills through research, planning and organization (good old pre-frontal cortex action!)…how they build empathy and compassion in readers who come to care about the characters and identify with their journey…how, for teens in particular, building identity is Job #1…and, in particular, providing strong female role models around STEM learning and careers…all these benefits may accrue from participating in an online tweet storytelling adventure.
But more about all the benefits of learning through story to come.
Meanwhile, tweet some fiction with Charley M & Friends at www.outoftimemedia.com. Are you up for the journey? Pack your bags…we’re taking a ride back in time. Where will Charley and her friends go? Who, among the superheroes of history might they meet? What will they see, hear, smell, taste or touch? What do you want to learn?
The adventure is in your hands @OutofTimeMovie.Tweet on!