Miércoles 3 de Septiembre de 2008, Ip nº 245

Introducing the Twiller
Por Matt Richtel

You might remember the novel in its earlier form; it had a cover, and many pages, forethought of plot, editors and agents weighing in, and, oh yes, it generally had sentences and punctuation. And, finally, some poor suckers had to take the time out of their busy days to actually read it.

Who has time for all those niceties? They’re so first half of 2008.

Introducing the Twiller.

Recently, a handful of creators (present company included) have scrapped pen and paper for mobile phone and keypad, and started texting their novels — in real time, just a few characters at a time. Our medium is Twitter, a service that lets you broadcast bursts of 140 characters at a time to be read by people who subscribe to get your updates.

In my case, I’ve for the last two months been using Twitter to write a real-time thriller. Hence: Twiller. (Cheap word play is what you get when you disintermediate, as they say, your agent and editor).

It’s about a man who wakes up in the mountains of Colorado, suffering from amnesia, with a haunting feeling he is a murderer. In possession of only a cell phone that lets him Twitter, he uses the phone to tell his story of self-discovery, 140 characters at a time. Think “Memento” on a mobile phone, with the occasional emoticon.

The appearance of my story on this new medium has apparently confused some people. But many of my newspaper colleagues write novels. I’ve already published one. This is just an experiment in a new medium.

Plus, it’s a short story with a proverbial long tail — albeit a short, long tail. Only about 400 people are reading the story — a few get added every few days. It’s whatever is the opposite of mass market.

I don’t know if the story will catch much attention, but, then again, it doesn’t require much attention at all.


  29/08/2008. The New York Times Blogs.