Friday, December 31, 2010

Restraint: A short story in Tweets

I'm experimenting with writing a short story on twitter. It's turning out to be a great writing excercise, trying to create short, interesting posts that continue the storyline. The 140 character limit is a challenge, especially since I want to throw in a few hash tags at the end. It's keeping me to about 100 characters per post.

I attempted something similar when I first got on twitter. I wrote poetry in 140 characters. That was fun, but trying to keep a story going is tough. I've completed the first main scene on the story, setting up the main character, motives, and setting. For those who don't want to wade through my tweets to assemble the story, I'm posting the first scene here.

I have kept the twitter format, including the hash tags, so it is presented, as writen, in single lines of 140 characters or less. I think it turned out well. I'm interested in readers' opinions. I'm not sure it is reader friendly on twitter. Perhaps if I had a profile devoted to the story alone, but you still end up reading in reverse.

So here it is, in a more readable format:


The stays in her corset were stilettos. Her fingerless gloves, fine steel mesh. In her black lace garter, a loaded derringer. #steampunk

The steel of the derringer was cool against her thigh, reminding her it was there, ready to be touched, fingered, fired. #steampunk #romance

Her eyes glinted with blue steel, a gift of the war and a kryon laser blast. Her finger twitched in anticipation and desire. #steampunk

She slid the pistol slowly from her garter. Any sound would alert him. He turned. She raised her knee. "This is gonna hurt" ... #steampunk

A bolt of fire ripped down her leg, he fell to his knees. "Damn," she cursed. "So much for the silk stockings." He fell over. #steampunk

Hot lead pierced cool flesh; bones cracked, flesh ripped. Sensory overload. Vestigial emotions burst from atrophied mind. Confusion...

He dropped to his knees. What was it? Not hate. Nor anger. The implants accentuated those. He knew them well. #amwriting #steampunk

Hormones raged; adrenaline, testosterone; even as the control implates tried to shut them down in order to slow the bleeding. #steampunk

Emergency shutdown. In the dark moments as systems rebooted, clarity bloomed. She wasn't the enemy. He loved her. #steampunk #romance

She limped to the corpse. No movement other than the implants pumping chemicals. It would regenerate. She'd stop that. #steampunk #romance

She aimed at the control box on the back of its head. Tears filled eyes that had seen thousands die without blinking. #steampunk #romance

"It's not him," she told herself. "He's dead, gone. I held him when he died." She cocked her weapon. #amwriting #steampunk #romance

A hand gripped her ankle. "I love you," a mechanical voice grated. "Finish it, Dee." She pulled the trigger. #amwriting #steampunk #romance

Gears and viscious liquids sprayed when the bullet exploded the control box. She fell to her knees in blood and chemicals. #steampunk

They would pay for sending her dead lover to assasinate her. "I love you, Jake," she choked out. #amwriting #steampunk #romance



  1. What a cool experiment and challenge. You pulled it off with panache! Vivid imagery and lots of plot twists in very few words! A great bit of Twitter Flash!

  2. Thanks Gail. It really tightens the writing, trying to see every line as a stand alone post. I'm having fun with it.