Short Stories One Tweet At A Time : All Tech Considered Arjun Basu writes short stories --- extremely short stories; short stories that are exactly 140 characters.
NPR logo Short Stories One Tweet At A Time

Short Stories One Tweet At A Time

Magazine editor Arjun Basu writes short stories on Twitter. Courtesy Arjun Basu hide caption

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Courtesy Arjun Basu

Arjun Basu writes short stories --- extremely short stories; short stories that are exactly 140 characters.

Here's a typical post from his Twitter feed:

The talk had been open, with hurt feelings. Shouting. They knew the relationship was done. She would never put ketchup on her hot dogs again.

I found the magazine editor from Montreal on, where else, Twitter (@arjunbasu), and in an e-mail asked him how he got the idea for writing short fiction on the popular site.

"I was just discovering Twitter, writing typically banal posts and then had an image (of a child trying to reach a cookie on a table) and wrote a story," he wrote. "And it came in at 140 characters. And then I tried it again. And again."

Soon, he had a bunch of followers — now more than 7,000 — who weren't shy about providing feedback for his "Twisters" ("because everything in Twitter has a funny name").

"I was receiving instant feedback which is a) the magic of Twitter and b) is like catnip for a writer," Basu says. "Here we are, used to struggling alone, in the dark as it were, and on Twitter that overused word 'community' didn't feel like a cliche."

Though the idea of Twitter-ature (a phrase for which I can't claim credit) may seem strange, Basu isn't the only one doing it. He says there are at least two dozen more people on Twitter who write short fiction. His advantage: He has already published a book of short stories, Squishy, and has an agent to shop his "Twisters" around. But the publishers aren't exactly falling over themselves.

"I can sense that the publishing industry is not quite sure about Twitter," Basu says. "There are a lot of 'how to' books coming out as well as humor books based on funny tweets. But I haven't seen any literature come out yet. Hopefully I can lead the charge."