Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Interview with... @DeadEndFiction  


Writing: Twitter is an amazing way to meet and connect with people, but there are some very creative individuals who are using the micro-message format for more than just quick greetings or rapid news exchanges. In fact, there’s a growing segment of Twitter devoted to crafting short-short-short fiction. As a writer who is constantly working on being concise, seeing people produce quality shorts under these extremely restrictive circumstances is quite intriguing.

For tonight's update, I am pleased to present an interview with my favorite micro-writer specializing in Horror, @DeadEndFiction. One of the more prolific and regular writers on the service, I can be quite honest in saying that these particular tweets are a darkly-tinged bright spot in my day…


Please tell us who you are and a little bit about your work on Twitter.

@DeadEndFiction is short horror fiction confined (or coffined) to 140 characters with a beginning, middle and dead end. As the writer of these Twitter stories, I’d like to remain anonymous.

Fair enough. So, Tweets are limited to 140 characters, but what experience have you had writing in longer formats?

I do lots of creative writing, mainly short stories, but @DeadEndFiction has definitely conditioned me to write in very short bursts. A 1,000 word short story is now a daunting task. In fact, writing my shopping list now seems like a scribal mountain. I find I don't set aside time to write at the moment, because the Twitter-fiction I'm writing is so short it really doesn't interrupt anything else. It's like writing a little note.

How did you get started writing micro-Horror? Where did the inspiration come from?

It was more a case of me coming across Twitter and thinking – what can I do with this? When I started following Sean Hill’s @VeryShortStory it became very clear that Twitter-fiction was something I wanted to try, and I hoped to carve out a niche by exploring the Horror genre specifically. It has lots of readily recognisable imagery associated with it. Everyone knows what a vampire needs (blood) and hates (sunlight) so dealing in these ideas makes it easier to work with the limitations of Twitter.

What’s your process? Do you carry a notebook around, or just tweet on the fly? How long does it take you to come up with the average micro-piece?

I don’t carry a notebook, but I will frantically jump on a scrap of paper if an idea jumps into my head. A lot of it is wordplay, so someone might say something like ‘my feet are killing me’ – and that will provide a starting point. Sometimes I’ll write something like that down and it’ll be months before I actually develop it into a tweet. I keep a 'bank' of stored ideas in a Word document on my desktop. Everything ends up there.

It's not very Edgar Allen Poe.


Relationships seem to come up often as a theme in your work. Any particular reason?

Relationships offer an instant dynamic that everyone can recognise. There needs to be a ‘someone else’ to create drama. I guess, because I’m in a relationship, I’m also writing about what I know. Certainly, if my partner says or does something to upset me, or vice versa, a tweet is often born from that. Not as revenge or even as a confession, but just because it's likely to preoccupy me.

Have there been particular pieces that you just can’t get under 140? What’s the shortest one you’ve ever done?

I try to hit 140 dead on. When I can’t do that, and I can’t even get close, there have been ideas I’ve put to one side to develop into longer stories. It doesn’t happen often though, because I’m always thinking within the structure of something short enough to tweet. Maybe 135 characters is the shortest I've tweeted, but afterwards I would have hung my head in shame.

Have you ever been tempted to take one of your twitter pieces and expand it into a short story or novel?

Most of the stories are designed to be the length that they are. To go back to them and extend them into longer stories would feel like stretching them to breaking point or spreading them thinly over too big a gap. I think it’s a completely different discipline to write a short story or a novel. And I’d approach those forms from a very different angle. Writing @DeadEndFiction is more often like writing Horror-themed jokes, with odd little punch lines.

Before we end the interview, would you please share a few of your hand-picked personal favorites?

I don’t know if these are my favourites, but they are some of the more popular tweets.

My husband did not believe in ghosts, so I was intrigued, after his funeral, to find him sulking in the attic, too embarrassed to haunt me. @DeadEndFiction Jun 11 2010

I fell out with my imaginary friend. I said I couldn’t see him anymore. Bitter and forgotten, he plotted a fate for me beyond my imagination @DeadEndFiction Oct 15 2010

The pen wasn’t mightier than the sword; they were equally useful as I hacked off his head with one and forged his signature with the other. @DeadEndFiction Jul 26 2010

Thank you so much for speaking with me, and I eagerly look forward to more short-form creepiness -- and to those of you who don't already follow @DeadEndFiction… what are you waiting for?


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