I was all set to write a post about the six-month check-in regarding my "40 things to do while I'm 40 list", until I realized that I've only been 40 for five months, so that one will have to wait until next month. So instead I'll talk about something else: Twitter.
I'm toying with the idea of tweeting a novel. And while I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this, and someone's doing it as we speak, I'm curious as to whether I could pull something like this off were I to actually give it a shot. First of all, how consistent do I have to be? In other words, if I'm in the middle of a scene ("Carmella crept out of bed & into the hall, only to trip over the tabby cat, who howled & hissed & took a swipe at her ankle with his claw."), can I interject w/ one of my more usual tweets? (Hey, Pandora Radio: in what universe are Depeche Mode and The Eagles part of the same musical genre?) Second of all, how do I protect against plagiarism, not to mention basically giving my readers a free book? Third of all, how do I not write crap? After all, this is presumably a first draft. Timelines are going to get screwed up, characters are going to be changed, tweaked, second-guessed. Plots will be subjected to inconsistencies, no doubt.
Worse still, what if I get writer's block, or bored?
Why do it at all? you ask. I suppose the lazy answer is, Why not? One of the best-selling books in Japan was reportedly written on a cellphone. There's a challenge in brevity, not to mention the arduous task of keeping the reader interested in real time, on the spot. And there's something to be said for the rhetorical situation, using a media typically reserved for randomness and banality (and the occasional promotion) to achieve something more substantive.
I don't know if I could pull it off. What's more, I don't know if I'd be able to sustain my own interest if one of my favorite authors were to do it. I mean, I don't even follow Jennifer Weiner's live-tweeting of The Bachelorette. (Then again, that has more to do w/ me preferring to poke myself w/ a stick repeatedly than watch The Bachelorette.)
So, readers, I'll ask you: what would you think of reading a novel, 140 characters at a time, on Twitter? Would you Follow an author you love just to see it unfold? Would you join Twitter for that sole purpose?