I have been on twitter a while, but I’ve only recently discovered all the joyous ways it can help not just writers to meet and talk about writing, but also help in the art of writing. Bear with me.
Let’s break it down.
The very act of writing a tweet involves, um, writing. The fact they are short and snappy involves a particular skill, I admit, which may seem at odds with novel writing for example. However let's be positive, I think some of these skills can be applied to your broader writing (I think any writing we do, is a good thing). For example:
- Twitter teaches you to be concise: How often have you to reword a tweet to get it within that pesky limit? Taken out unnecessary words or rewritten your whole sentence? This is a great exercise to apply to writing. Take 100 words of your draft and cut 5 words out. Now another 5. 10. (Look at an author like Jacqueline Wilson, and try and cut 5 words from a page. It’s hard.)
|Get those scissors out. |
And yes those are my scissors.
And kitchen counter.
- Twitter is your voice: Look back at your tweets. How much do they reflect who you are? What idea do you get of people you’ve maybe never met, just from their tweets? I bet quite a strong one. This is the kind of voice your MC needs. Try writing out a few tweets for them, whatever time period they live in. Are they an ‘OMG THIS JUST HAPPENED’ tweeter? A snarky tweeter? Get this sort of voice in your novel. (I think a ‘tweet as your MC’ tweet/blog hop sometime might be fun. Though confusing, maybe!).
- Twitter is about grabbing attention. By this I mean, how often do you reword a tweet to make more people pay attention to it? Make it funnier, or more informative, or simply ‘snappier’? By this I don’t mean that every joke in a WIP has to be super hilarious or every sad moment super sad, it has to be appropriate to the character and moment. I just mean there are sentences we can all polish to stand out more. It is easy to do when you only have 140 characters and harder when you have a lot.
As well as the art of writing there are obviously all the social aspects of twitter, helping you to meet other writers, to get support if you need encouragement to finish that piece of writing. You can also hear about competitions or see links to interesting and useful blog posts about the art of writing.
These are all ways of connecting you note, and for me that’s what it is about. Twitter feels like ‘broadcasting’ and a lot of people do use it, very successfully, as a way of self-promotion and broadcasting about what they’re up to. Which is great.
But the best parts for me are the @ connections you can make and the conversations which happen. I know people who say, I don’t tweet, who cares what I have to say, and my response is, it’s not about that. Or it isn’t for me. It’s about starting a conversation. The writing community is hugely supportive, as I've found on this blog, and twitter is an extension of that.
Another great thing are the hashtags which help you meet new people and discuss writing tips and the like.
Some of my faves are:
#amwriting – does what it says on the, er, tin
#1k1hr – race to get to 1k in an hour (love this one)
#askagent – sessions run where agents take and answer your question
#writemotivation – monthly group run by KT Hanna (every other month I think). You set goals, and encourage others to meet them and get encouragement.
#writeclub – a new one! Started by @MeganWhitmer I believe for writers to find other people currently writing (started on a Friday night when a few people were all writing. And NOT to be confused with DL Hammons writeclub which did throw me at first.)
#YAWritersAAT – Sunday night chat where you can ask teens a question for research, started by Leigh Ann Kopans I think and transcripts go up on yamisfits. (Must catch up on the transcripts, as am asleep for the chats being UK, which I think it 9 EST).
Here are two great posts listing all kinds of hashtags - here and here – though am tempted to write a master list sometime (If anybody would want to help with that project, let me know!)
Does anyone agree with my list above of how it can help your actual writing? Will you try any of these? Would a master list of hashtags or some MC tweets be fun?
Are you on twitter? If you are and I don’t already follow you, please leave your @ name in the comments or follow me and I’ll follow back.
My twitter button is on the right, please connect with me there, and if you like this post, let me know what you think – or tweet me about it!