So there’s this thing called The Twitter that all the kids are using. In terms of literary forms, it’s the shortest of the short, measured in characters, not words. It’s about the opposite of a novel. So what if you tried to write an entire novel in tweets?
Right off the bat, you’re faced with a critical decision: Does each tweet have to be interesting on its own? If not, then just tweet each sentence and ignore the fact that no one is following along. But if your medium truly is the tweet, then success is measured by followers, and that means that you will approach the story differently.
In the forward of Executive Severance by Robert K Blechman, the author discusses that briefly, and when the story gets meta (the bad guy is following the protagonist’s tweets), it is discussed more. The medium is the message, and whatnot.
Structurally, then, the story reads more like a daily comic strip than it does a traditional novel. Every third sentence or so must be a payoff. Blechman often achieves this through wordplay, which he obviously enjoys, and he transmits that pleasure successfully. With a wink toward character limits, he has contrived to give many of his characters single-letter names, and he plays with that quite a bit as well.
If you judge this story as a mystery novel, you’re likely to be disappointed. It’s not strong on narrative, but then again neither were the Pink Panther movies, which felt similar — the story is just there to hang funny episodes on. In this case, it’s a couple hundred very short funny episodes.
There were occasional tweets that I sat back and admired just for their economy. Wee tiny poems. One thing for sure, doing a story in this medium requires skill (and the willingness to drop the occasional punctuation mark).
It is a thought-provoking story, not so much for what it says, but for what it is. Which is something the story itself tells us.