Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Impossible Fiction

By Darryl Mason

Found this on Twitter last night : 'Enter The Times Cheltenham Twitter Competition'. The task is to write "a story" in less than 140 characters. Fucking hard. Infuriatingly hard. Which, of course, is what makes it such a fun and 'must try this now!' writing challenge.

So here's a few of my post-midnight entries :
* "Run! the voice in her head yelled. "Run NOW!" She got up from the table and ran outside. A car mounted the curb and killed her instantly.

* The plane exploded. She counted the stars as she fell, ready for death. Then she saw her house far below. She aimed for her pool....

* "How much do you love me?" "More than life itself." She handed him a knife, "Prove it." "Okay," he said, "you're number two on my Love List."

* "I can't marry you," she sighed. "I'm not real. You made me up." The moment he realised this was true, she vanished. He picked up his pen, again.

* "One day you will invent a time machine," the visitor said. "I'm here to show you how." The visitor was decades older than my reflection

* When he left Earth, he was an astronaut. When he arrived on The Moon they told him he was, in fact, a soldier, and he would never go home again.
Note, these stories as they exist here are slightly longer than 140 characters, but only because I removed the Twitter shorthand which renders 'about' as 'abt', 'you're' as 'yr', 'realised' as 'realsd' and so on, for easier reading.

You can look at the other entries to the comp. here.

I'm still up in the air about Twitter as a vehicle for fiction, incredibly short fiction as above, or very well structured serial fiction told 140 characters at a time, over God knows how long. It's like trying to stuff a fat old reluctant dog through a tiny cat door.

Turning, or translating, a finished novel into a Twovel seems an equally impossible task. I've been working my way through a novel of mine that was published in 1996, Max & Murray, converting it into a twovel, as you can see if you look to the right of this page and down. But so far it feels pretty much like a total fucking disaster. Which makes me want to both abandon it and finish it as quickly as possible so this ridiculous experiment is done with.

Anyway, I'll get into all that in a longer post, later, with some examples of paragraphs from Max & Murray the printed novel versus the twovel posts I've done so far here.

Yes, I know, thrilling stuff.