The end of childhood

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SO where are we, nearly a month after epicretold began?

Bhima, our hero, is firmly installed in the palace of Hastinapur, as second in line to the throne, ready to take on the many hardships that life, and the Kauravas, are about to throw at him. It has taken 100-plus tweets — do note that minor landmark, folks — to get him this far, and along the journey, ER has acquired 1,405 followers.

The month has also improved my knowledge of twiction and twitterature. I am now aware, thanks to the responses to the NPR coverage of this attempt,  that James McCormick has beaten me to the punch, beginning to tweet a full-fledged novel written by his late wife Alice as early as May 2008. Then there is Roger Morris, posting his novel, A Gentle Axe (read it here). Also, Matt Stewart, with The French Revolution (read it here). And soon after ER began, author Phillippa Gregory tweeted a limited version of her novel, The White Queen.

Then of course there is the most ambitious — and transient — of all such projects (read this post on Mashable), Amway’s The Twitter of the Shrew, which saw the  ‘enactment’ of the The Taming of the Shrew from 19 Twitter accounts, presented over 12 days, one scene a day (talk about organisation and effort!)

I am, thus, in exalted company. There are one or two things that set ER apart from the attempts of my more literary colleagues, though.

The first is that while McCormick, Morris and Stewart are posting from what is already written, ER is being written as I post.  It is written for Twitter, on a day to day basis, the information ‘architectured’ with this specific platform in mind; not merely the transmission of a completed work meant for the conventional media in the unconventional media. So this, I suspect, is more of twiction, of ‘fiction to go’.

Second, ER has amassed more followers than A Gentle Axe (1,152 followers as of today), The French Revolution (962), or The White Queen (778). In Twitterian terms the 1,400-odd tally ER has is yawnable (the twitterati — particularly celebrities — have tens of thousands of followers), but for this particular ‘genre’, it is impressive. In this, ER has been helped considerably by the media attention it has received, which included coverage in Time, Reuters and NPR (interesting to analyse the why of that — but that’s another post).

AN UPDATE (Nov 22, 2014): Despite my valiant efforts, the term ‘Twiction’ did not catch on. My colleagues in academia—the traitors!—have gone with ‘Twitter fiction’, instead. 

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Image courtesy: Pratham Books
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4 Comments

  1. Ninan · August 27, 2009

    I follow Mahabharatha stories with great passion and am a great fan of the book “Second Turn” wherein Bhima is the pivotal character. I may have read the book more than ten times. These tweets, I must say, bring back life to those awesome characters and scenes. I enjoy this the same way I read my favourite “Randamoozham”. Kudos to Chindu. Truly a commendable attempt and Great Work

  2. iamalsovijay · August 27, 2009

    reading 100 tweets at a time was really good. also makes up for the tweets that i missed.

  3. Dorothea · August 29, 2009

    Very much enjoying @epicretold. Keep it coming!

  4. aninda shome · August 31, 2009

    Chindu

    You are brilliant!!!

    Good job…keep it up
    Aninda

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