One of the shortest styles of short short fiction is Twitterature or Twitter Fiction; Twitter Fiction is Flash Fiction in 140 characters or under.
With Twitterature, you need to try to keep to the usual requirements of one or more characters, maybe a conflict, and where possible a resolution as you might do with Nano Fiction. It is difficult to do correctly; but can be done.
My first piece of twitter fiction is entitled Machine Gun. I was initially happy with it; however after a while I felt it was missing something. So I made some changes to the content. The original version which is now called Machine Gun Version 1 flows thus:
Machine Gun: Version 1
The rattling of Machine Gun grew louder. I found courage to face it. Pain hit as Machine Guns rattling stopped. I was too late; he was dead.
This example of Twitter Fiction shows how you can have one or more characters, a conflict and a resolution all wrapped up in 140 characters or less. Before judging me, don’t forget that it is the first piece of Twitter Fiction I have written.
By starting with “The rattling of Machine Gun grew louder;” your imagination is already being forced to be used. Think of the who, when, where, why and how scenario. All of these can be used to determine the situation.
“I found courage to face it;” tells you, the reader; it is the narrator of the story facing the potential conflict. “Pain hit as Machine Guns rattling stopped.” What happened; did he get shot? After all the rattle of Machine Gun has now stopped; so something must have happened.
The final sentence unwraps the unstated premise of the story; “I was too late; he was dead.” Now we (should) fully understand the situation. Machine Gun is a person. He is rattling which suggests he is dying. Knowing someone is dying can be unnerving and takes courage to face. Maybe the narrator is behind a curtain or in the corridor?
So now we have an idea of the situation the narrator finds himself in; “Pain hit as Machine Guns rattling stopped;” suggests that the narrator is the one being hit with pain. However, not the pain of a bullet, more the pain that his; lets call him friend; has died. Hence it is the death of Machine Gun that causes the rattle to stop and not because a bullet has hit its target.
I had another go at this piece of Twitter Fiction; it has been completed in just 138 characters; two less than the first try. As with the original; it is not until you reach the end that you fully understand the story. In my mind both work well; however I think I prefer version 2.
Machine Gun: Version 2
Machine Gun rattled. I hesitated before facing the inevitable. Pain hit. The rattling faded. Death struck. Too late. Machine Gun was dead.
More to follow…