But even so, the news that The New Yorker will be "publishing" Jennifer Egan's newest original short story "tweet-by-tweet" doesn't sound super appealing to me. Okay, that's a lie. I'm not actually interested in it at all. 10 tweets at 140 characters doesn't seem all that exciting, especially when they come only one a day and I will likely have forgotten the previous day's tweet.
But, alas, The New Yorker--and I'm sure many others--disagree. Here's the scoop from the New York Times:
When the novelist Jennifer Egan submitted her latest short story to The New Yorker, she hinted to Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor, that there was a catch. It soon became evident: Ms. Egan had written an entire work of fiction in 140 character bits, to be first posted on Twitter and then published in the magazine.
“I had a sense it could work for a spy story,” Ms. Egan said this week while sitting in Ms. Treisman’s office.
Ms. Treisman was receptive to the idea, so much so that this week the New Yorker will begin publishing the story, “Black Box,” in segments on Twitter. Starting Thursday night, the New Yorker’s Twitter fiction handle, @NYerFiction, will post a new tweet of text from Ms. Egan’s 8,500 word story every minute between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The tweets will continue for 10 straight nights. Readers can find a summary of the text posted on the magazine’s Web site at 9 p.m. each evening.
The article, built around a character in her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” will appear in the magazine’s first science fiction issue, which comes out on May 29th.
While many writers have used social media to promote their work, Ms. Egan was especially interested in Twitter. She said she wanted to explore writing something serialized because that’s how many people watch television programs today.
The story is a running scroll of a spy keeping a log of her current mission. Ms. Egan said that when she was writing, she struggled not to make the language sound “gimmicky” or “cartoonish.”
“I’m just interested in serialization in fiction,” said Ms. Egan. “I’m fascinated by it. I love the 19th-century novels. I’m interested in ways to bring that back to fiction.”
Ms. Egan said that she is not entirely comfortable posting tweets. She marvels that she has nearly 3,000 followers when she has only posted four tweets, including one apologizing for being spammed. She said she feels comfortable posting to her Web site but that her posts on Twitter didn’t work.
“I felt tongue tied. It seemed phony,” said Ms. Egan. “I felt really self-conscious.”
But Ms. Egan said that after plugging so many lines of text into Twitter to make sure they were 140 characters or less, she said she felt less fearful.
Since the story’s text as written for Twitter didn’t look right in the standard New Yorker format, the magazine is using a different font called Neutra Face. The creative director, Wyatt Mitchell, said it had never been used before in the body of the magazine.
As New Yorker editors wait to see the response from readers, Ms. Egan notes the story has already lured one new follower to Twitter. “My mom is joining,” she said.
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