Tomorrow some of the finest (and hippest) fiction writers will begin telling stories on Twitter. It’s the second annual Twitter Fiction Festival, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers and Penguin Random House.
From March 12-16, you’ll find Alexander McCall-Smith (@McCallSmith), Emma Straub (@emmastraub), Anthony Marra (@anthonyfmarra) and 22 other successful writers tweeting away at #twitterfiction. There’ll be romance, humor, science fiction, mystery, poetry and more. Or less, depending on what you think of the whole idea of twitter fiction.
But alongside these featured writers will be 25 winners of the Twitter Fiction contest. One of them is Lara Prescott, an aspiring novelist in Frederick, Md. She managed to win a spot competing against some 700 other contestants. When Prescott isn’t tweeting @laraprescott, she’s working as a digital communications consultant. In a previous life, she was a ghost writer (and ghost tweeter) for progressive politicians.
Look for Prescott’s story to start streaming on Friday morning at 8 a.m. (Some authors’ stories will be tweeted over several days. You can find the full, dazzling schedule here.) Prescott says her story is “about a government protest told from the perspectives of a reporter, a media outlet, an activist, a bystander and two friends trapped in the escalating violence.”
Prescott was inspired to try delivering fiction on Twitter by Teju Cole (@tujucole), Elliott Holt (@elliottholt), Jennifer Egan (@egangoonsquad) and other critically acclaimed novelists who have experimented with the 140-character platform. “The restrictions it puts on the writer can force creativity,” she says.
Twitter’s effectiveness at delivering breaking news also feels relevant to the kind of fiction she’s writing. “Though the characters I’ve created for my story are, of course, not real people, the use of real personas in real time to tell a narrative can have a powerful impact.”
The Twitter Fiction Festival website notes that the judges are looking for “more than just tweeting out a narrative line-by-line.” #TwitterFestival wants fiction that “uses Twitter functionality in the most creative way possible.”