Superstar author and all-round literary genius David Mitchell (the guy who wrote Cloud Atlas, not the chubby British comedian whose wife plays poker for a living) has been persuaded by his PR company to open a Twitter account.
And to celebrate, he’s written a short story which is being published sentence-by-sentence, a few tweets at a time over the course of the next few weeks.
Mitchell freely admits that it’s a gimmick and that he won’t be taking up personal residence in the Twitterverse any time soon (the PR company is posting the tweets on his behalf), but it’s an interesting way to use social media to promote his up-coming book, The Bone Clocks, not least because you have to scroll down to the bottom of the feed to find the start of the story, then scroll UP the page to read the sentences one by one. On top of that, you only get a handful of new lines each day, so you need to remember to keep coming back for more.
Well, maybe not. It appears to be working because in the past few days he’s gone from a standing start to over 12,000 followers.
Not bad, I thought. Why not give it a try myself, I thought? Why not set up a Twitter account and put a short story on it? Or maybe a few short stories? A new one each day? I wonder how many followers I would get?
“Twelve thousand? Pfft! I’ll shave my head if you get half that…” chimes in my dad sarcastically over his newspaper.
Let me repeat that.
“I’LL SHAVE MY HEAD IF YOU GET 6,000 FOLLOWERS…”
Doubtless David Mitchell will have hundreds of thousands of followers by the end of the month and by the time his book comes out in September he will already have a another best-seller on his hands from the Amazon pre-orders alone.
But I just need 6,000 to stick it to the old man and take him down a peg or two… and with his big nose and wing-nut ears, a bald head would make him look like a freshly-hatched parrot.
Who’s with me?
You’ll find David Mitchell’s story here:
And you’ll find mine here:
UPDATE: I posted my short story just over an hour ago — it’s only 13 tweets long — and I’ve managed to get 100 followers so far. That’s a long way from 6,000 of course, but I’m in no hurry… I’ve got all summer.
Babel stared at the computer screen with her large brown eyes, wondering how to phrase the email. It was raining outside, which had unfortunately brought Melancholy knocking on the door with a tub of ice cream and a crappy romantic comedy. And naturally, she had invited him in with open arms.
That meant Logic went out of the window and fell face-first onto the cold, street floor below. But he was used to that kind of treatment so he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and made his way into the bar on the corner. He wondered if Juliette was on her shift tonight. At first he felt fairly confident she would be because he knew that she was always in on Fridays. But after an hour at the bar, he began to doubt himself. The unfortunate thing about Logic was that he had broken up with Self-Confidence a while back, and now they couldn’t even be in the same room together.
Whatever happened though, Logic knew that in the morning he would turn up on the doorstep of Babel’s apartment, still slightly drunk from the night before, and he would have the pleasure of going over all the stupid things she had done while he had been away.
Sadly, in the absence of Logic and Clear Thinking (who had gone bowling when Babel had started gorging on the ice-cream), she was regretting that she had recently split up with her idiot ex-boyfriend, for reasons which now seemed quite childish. The main reason was that the grey, rainy evenings reminded her of the times they had spent together. But the irony was lost on her, that “dull and miserable” were the two words she most associated with her “happy” relationship, so she just sat there, attempting to compose a heart-warming message which would send him scurrying back into her arms.
What to say though?
“Hey it’s raining, and for some reason I started thinking about you and about when we were together. I know this is completely out of the blue, but… do you think we could put the past behind us and work something out?”
At least, that’s what she wanted to write. But Babel’s stubborn nature wouldn’t let her. True, she craved his presence. And true, the rain reminded her of him. And she really did want things back the way they were. But she just couldn’t shake the gnawing feeling of resentment she felt towards him. He had been a real ass. And even if she forgave him, he would still be an ass.
After much internal wrangling, Babel punched out a single sentence and hit send.
“It’s raining and I hate you.”