Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 25 February 2012

Twitter and the Art of Concision

When I set up this blog, I imposed a rule or two upon myself.

I decided that a daily blog entry shouldn’t be longer than 500 words, simply because I wanted a) to give myself achievable goals, and b) I didn’t want to bore you with the whole TLDR (too long, didn’t read) problem. I want you to come back for more, if not every day, then, at the very least, once in a while. I also decided that an excerpt or a piece of flash fiction shouldn’t be longer than 1,000 words, for more or less the same reasons, but also because c) the usual rules for flash fiction stipulate that a piece should be between 500 and 1,000 words long.
When did our attention spans become so short? I blame it on Sesame Street, which worked on the premise that a child’s attention span was about the same length as a TV advert. Yes, I know that makes some sort of sense, given that almost any three year old can sing a range of advert jingles, but isn’t it also a little bit sad?
You see, I’m almost halfway through my word count for the day, and I haven’t even scratched the surface yet, which is a pity, because this blog is actually about Twitter.
When I began the blog, I also opened a Twitter account; you can find me @N_VincentAbnett, if you’re game. Here’s the thing: it turns out that Twitter is actually an artform to those who are good at it. Exploring a thought in 140 characters or fewer, is exciting and can lead to all sorts of interesting repercussions.
Ian Rankin was chatting with me on Twitter the other day. He said this, with reference to JK Rowling and the idea that her first adult novel might be a thriller:
“Might explain why she left the neighbourhood (me, McCall Smith, Atkinson near-neighbours) and moved across town...”
The Guardian had a field day.
On the other hand, when Lavie Tidhar (I know, great name!) asked me to describe my book “Savant”, I came up with this:
“Near-future sci-fi. Earth-shield threatened when 'Active' goes AWOL on maths. It's about parenting, probability and autism.”
It isn’t quite the elevator pitch I was looking for.
So, as with all things, practice makes perfect, and I, for one, am determined to make myself understood in 140 characters or fewer without scrimping on punctuation or using text-speak. Wish me luck.
That all gives me 74 words with which to sign off. I do hope I haven’t bored you, and that you will return, if not daily, then, at the very least soon, and, if you’d rather read less of me, there’s always Twitter.

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