Join the Short Story Tweetathon and Tell a Tale with Fewer than 700 (Twitter) Characters

For the past four Wednesdays, the Society of Authors has sponsored a short story tweetathon, giving willing writers about an hour to continue a tale begun by a published author, such as Sarah Waters, Simon Brett and Joanne Harris. This week, the opening line comes from author and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Once the guest curator has selected the winning contribution, it’s posted, and scribes have an hour to come up with the next line. And so on. The final story is available on the SoA website.

The final tweetathon starts tomorrow at 11 a.m. – that’s Greenwich Mean Time for folks based outside the U.K.

Contributors have less than the usual 140 Twitter characters, since the tweet must be submitted with the #soatale hashtag. Here, for example, is crime writer Ian Rankin’s Week 1 opener:

“I woke up on the floor of a strange bedroom, clutching a single bullet in my right hand. I couldn’t see any sign of a gun.” #soatale

SoA organized the tweetathon after the BBC made cuts to the amount of short stories aired during regular programming. As with cutbacks in magazines, like the Atlantic, this reduces the options for short story writers and restricts the exposure that readers might have to this important storytelling form, practiced by writers as varied as Tobias WolffHelen SimpsonErnest HemingwayLorrie Moore, and Ian McEwan, to name a very small handful.

For specifics on the tweetathon and SoA’s protest, visit the Society of Authors website.