Let’s talk about Twitfiction

By on March 18, 2013
Mark Connors

Twitfiction, is the art of writing Twitter posts which are self contained stories. Forty three year old Mark Connors is on a mission to write one a day in 2013 and he spoke to Atmopshere to discuss all things Twitterian.

It is an implausible thought, but a true one, that a poem written in 1913 could inspire a most 21st century of literary innovations. But this is exactly the path that Twitfiction author Mark Connors has found himself travelling as he has shifted from musician to poet to Twitfiction obsessive.

The line “even the rain has such small hands” from by EE Cummings, is an utterance that proved so irresistible to a twenty year old Mark that he took up poetry. Now twenty three years later, he is one of the leading figures in the “Twitfiction” world.

“Twitfiction” is a clunky word, but it is the moniker given to a slick and genuinely creative genre of writing. It is the art of writing 140 character stories on social networking site Twitter. Mark has set himself the challenge of posting a new story, every single day for the whole of 2013 from his account @MarkyWriter.

The concept is one that has been tried before, with limited success, and it was attempts publicised in the press which spurred Mark on, he reveals: “About a year ago there was a feature in The Guardian about writers who had tried it, that was what gave me the idea. Some of those attempts were successful and there was a couple of cop outs but there was enough there to fire my imagination.”

Having had his imagination stoked, Mark is over three months into the Twitter adventure and says its had an effect on his day to day life: “I’ve really enjoyed posting, Twitter is the first thing I check in the morning” and also, it has developed his poetry, he says: “I find the 140 character restriction exciting, you are constantly editing yourself and it is a really tough discipline to work in.”

The character limit seems like it would be a drag when it comes to trying to craft something that works as a story, but Mark stridently believes it is a positive experience for a creative: “You sometimes think that you’re wasting a word when you use adverbs and things like down, so it is great for getting use to self editing.”

Indeed, he freely admits, that there have been occasions where a seemingly genius piece of invention has actually been engineered by the 140 character limitation: “There’s one tweet towards the beginning about a man asking a woman to marry him, and Twitter stopped me at “Ma” and it turned out to be perfect for the tweet.”

Those who read the “Twitfiction” from Mark, will note that despite the relatively short space Twitter gives for expression, there is a delightful array of topics on offer and Mark is happy to reveal his selection process: “I always try and have about twenty tweets in waiting so I am not pressuring myself. It means there is always one ready to go and some days when I’m being productive I can get a few written at once.

Having stock also allows me to choose something which I am in the mood for, whether it be a bit naughty, or funny, or a bit weird. Whatever it is I like to have a stock that can take me wherever I want to go really.”

Mark is pragmatic enough to confess that the main motivation for the Twitter mission was self-promotion, “I knew Twitter was a good way of getting people looking at your website and it has worked. When I first started, my own name was on page five of Google, now it is top of page one and there is an Australian Rugby player and a country singer with my name, so it has done me the world of good.”

Now though, he sees it as more than just a means to an end, a way of boosting the chance of publishing, it is now a genuinely exciting prospect: “ I’m a poet and a novelist, and now I am tweeter. I’m taking this more seriously than anything else.

Indeed, so absolute is his commitment to Twitfiction, he is considering making the leap to running a full Twitfiction site, himself: “There’s a few people doing it and I might set up my own site dedicated to Twitfiction because it is nice that people are so excited by it and prepared to give up their time to write. You won’t make any money from it but it is nice to know that people are doing it for the love of it, that’s what really inspires me.”

It’s an interesting thought to end on. The idea that the man inspired by a poem of a previous generation, could be at the forefront of defining the new social media craze of this generation.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkyWriter

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