The @vinceunlimited Twitternovel Story

Exploring limitations of a new Social Medium

A radical new concept devised by Vince, published in twitter.com/vinceunlimited during March 2009.

I started using the short format, public posting service Twitter in January 2009. During my initial explorations of the service I noticed that noone I knew was using the service to publish a story. I presumed established authors considered the format lightweight, limiting or offered no opportunity for monetisation. These were no barriers to me so I commenced a Twitternovel in March 2009 which ran alongside my other Tweets at that time.

I called the story one25 which was the amount of characters I had to use each time allowing for a hash tag search identifier [#one25], chapter number, message and continuation mark to fill the entire 140 character limitation set by the service.

I also planned to do exactly 125 entries over 125 days but this would be only realised by the reader at the end. I only had a vague idea of the story, preferring to make it up as I went along, although I did plan some internal Twitter references. The introduction was posted at 8:46 p.m. on 1 March 2009...

#one25 A new way to enjoy Twitter. A Novel in 140 character Tweets by @vinceunlimited. For comments or discussion please use #one25note

And the story began...

#one25 001 Normally waking up in a giant cage in a laboratory would be a concern but after what Jo had just been through it was a relief tbc

#one25 002 Jo looked around. It was dark but the shadow ahead looked suspiciously like a huge rat. And what were those things? Whiskers? tbc

#one25 003 Jo twitched & the whiskers moved. She was a rat. But having four foot whiskers had to wait. The other rat was heading her way tbc

#one25 004 A huge rat with piercing eyes running at Jo wasn't actually the most frightening thing. What was that shadow chasing the rat? tbc

#one25 005 The rat coming at Jo was scooped up by a mighty hand then whisked away. Was Jo next? She noticed the cage door was left open tbc

#one25 006 Jo scurried to the door. She looked around the room. Two men were preparing the inject the other rat. Was this now Jo's fate? tbc

#one25 007 Jo looked down. The drop looked 50' but someone had left a towel on the floor. She took her chance and launched into the air. tbc

#one25 008 As Jo fell she worried about the landing and experienced flashing red lights with a piercing scream. Then she hit the ground tbc

#one25 009 She crashed heavily into the towel. Jo rolled back upright and saw one of the men leaving the lab. The door was closing shut tbc

#one25 010 Jo raced across the room. She thought she just got through the closing gap but the door slammed shut, on the end of her tail. tbc

#one25 011 The door closing on Jo was excruciatingly painful. But she could see someone coming. Would she have to gnaw off her own tail? tbc

#one25 012 Without choice, Jo braced herself and bit hard into her tail, her sharp teeth cutting clean through. Then she heard a scream. tbc

#one25 013 The shrieking woman would draw attention. Jo had to act fast. People are scared of rats so Jo ran at her and leapt in the air tbc

#one25 014 Jo flew headlong at the giant girl. The girl turned & batted Jo to the side, tumbling her against the wall, knocking her out. tbc

#one25 015 Thankfully Jo recovered senses quickly. She saw an outside door & ran for it. Her momentum took her straight into a busy road tbc

#one25 016 In the road Jo was confronted by a speeding truck nearly 200' high coming straight towards her. She braced herself for impact tbc

#one25 017 The lorry driver saw Jo the rat in the road and steered towards her. Thankfully Jo fell in a pothole so survived the impact. tbc

#one25 018 Jo scurried to the pavement and ran into an alley, wondering how rats survived. Then came face to face with a twenty foot cat tbc

#one25 019 The cat leapt onto Jo grabbing her by it’s giant jaw. As teeth dug into Jo’s neck she experienced more red lights and screams tbc

#one25 020 The many red lights & piercing screams subsided as Jo realised there was no more danger. But she did have a rat in her mouth tbc

#one25 021 Jo's jaw dropped open with surprise & the rat fell to the ground. As it ran off Jo noticed it had the end of the tail missing tbc

#one25 022 Jo looked down and saw she had cats legs & paws. First a rat, now a cat. What was going on? And what was that growling sound? tbc

#one25 023 Jo turned to see a huge dog nearly three times her size, barking furiously. As she backed away she noticed it was salivating. tbc

#one25 024 The rabid dog made a scary lunge. The flashing red lights & screams returned. After subsiding Jo was looking at a scared cat. tbc

#one25 025 Strange. Whenever Jo got scared she experienced flashing red lights & screams, then transferred bodies. Could she force this? tbc

#one25 026 Experimenting, Jo cornered the cat, growling gently. As predicted it lashed out across Jo's nose, causing lights and screams tbc

#one25 027 Immediately Jo was again looking at the dog. Still rabid, but this time with a bleeding nose. Jo figured it was time to exit. tbc

#one25 028 Jo slipped by the dog, bounding out the alley, feeling lithe as the cat she was. She had to find a place to sort herself out tbc

#one25 029 Jo crept along the pavement avoiding the people. It was then she realised she wasn't in a giant world. She was just cat sized tbc

#one25 030 Jo climbed onto a pile of boxes to get a view. She looked around. Where was she? A big city. American. How did she get there? tbc

#one25 031 She could still read the shop names but she failed to read the warning sign on the door behind the boxes. And it opened up. tbc

I temporarily suspended the service at the beginning of April 2009. I wondered whether the story was being followed as enthusiastically as I was posting it. I also became aware of difficulties in posting updates amongst my other entries and wondered how it may be seen. Were my new followers confused about the strange Tweets? Were my oldest followers tolerating a story they had no intention of following? I waited for a comment or three on the suspension and received nothing.

Probably due to the normal low interaction level by Twitterers, as it is a fundamentally passive experience, coupled with my low following numbers and the fact that for all they knew the story was finished I now have an abandoned, unfinished project.

I may re-ignite the interest again. Maybe on the second anniversary. Maybe when I have thousands of followers. Maybe under a separate Twitter account. Maybe never.

I am sure the concept is sound. In fact on 3 March 2009 a Radio 4 presenter commented that she suspected someone had devised the format. I immediately posted the following...

R4 presenter then added that she suspected someone, somewhere was probably writing a Twitternovel. Yes that would be me - next one25 follow

If you want this resurrected, let me know.

Related Links

Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.174 16 Aug 2018
The Twitternovel was first published in twitter.com/vinceunlimited during Mar 2009
This narrative first published in this website Version 3.0 Mar 2010