Kathleen Duey should get a Courageous Author award for writing a novel on Twitter. "What? How can a novel be written in 140-character bursts?" you may well exclaim. But, trust me, it's a grand and wonderful experiment that works.
Duey's written more than 70 books and been a National Book Award finalist, so this is no newbie gimmick. But she can be unconventional, and she chose to tell SKIN HUNGER and SACRED SCARS, the first two books in The Resurrection of Magic trilogy in alternating POVs with the characters centuries apart--one in first person, the other in third. These dark, cryptic tales enthrall me.
But it's what she's doing on Twitter that has knocked my socks off and sent them into the stratosphere. How many of us would commit to writing a novel in tweeted lines, real time, unrevised for all the world to see? Yikes.
Duey has said she did it after speaking at a conference and realizing she wanted a challenge that scared her, gave her a jolt of raw fear. She also realized she had a Twitter account she barely used. Putting the two together propelled her to a place few of us would dare tread. She says of her main character: He talks. I type.
I began reading RUSSET: ONE WING out of curiosity, nothing more. I didn't expect anything of real depth or cohesion. Boy, was I wrong. There was enough scene-setting and character development to settle me in and then I became increasing riveted by the story and concerned for Russet. The possibilities still ahead in this unfinished story are fascinating to imagine.
Duey begins by having Russet tell us he can't ever go back but first he has to find a blanket.
Right away, we know the kid is in trouble, alone and cold. By the fourth tweet, someone is following him. By the eighth entry, he mentions a mysterious letter, unopened, in his pocket, and by the ninth tweet, we know it's from his equally-mysterious missing father.
As a guest blogger on Cynthia Leitich Smith's site, Duey explains the steps that brought her to write Russet: One Wing, establishing its own blog. She's made chapter headings on the blog for the collection of already-written tweets. The story is ongoing on Twitter here. For more about Duey and the process, check her blog.
So how about you? Would you write a novel on Twitter? Would you read it? How far are you willing to push your writing comfort zone?