“If there was a better way to go, then it would find me.” -Fiona Apple
I started writing a novel on Twitter because I have a young baby at home and it’s hard to find time to officially “write.” But I noticed that I have time to sit in the nursery and play with him and send text messages to my friends. So if I have time to text, I have time to tweet, and if I have time to tweet, I could be writing a novel on Twitter. Voila, The Place Below was born.
And like so many artistic works, The Place Below was born with problems. None of them are insurmountable, exactly, but each new story is a learning experience. (If viewed through the proper cardboard tube, everything is a potential learning experience.)
My biggest problem so far is size. Twitter is bite-sized by its very nature. A novel is a meal. Most of my novels turn into multi-course meals, even if I intend to keep them simple. So I’m not sure if the Twitter format fits my project anymore, if it ever did.
There’s nothing about my story that makes it relevant to a bite-sized format. In fact, the novel has grown extra points of view that I wasn’t expecting when I began the project. On top of that, practically every character now has a named pet with its own personality. The pets are there for a reason, but they add additional complexity to a format that is not all that amenable to complexity.
As problematic as the format is, I’m going to continue via Twitter. Writing a new story is like birth. You can’t stop midway — I learned that the hard way, several times. This work has to emerge. Once it’s out, we’ll see where it goes.