Twitter's official fiction festival launched this week as an experiment in extremely brief writing, and today comes the project's first user-generated experiment. It involves dead people. Writer Jennifer Wilson is about to start posting pictures of graves from a cemetery by her home and asking readers to make up an epitaph in 140 characters or less. Using those epitaphs, she'll then write a short piece of fiction about the graves' inhabitants. "It's fun," Wilson wrote in an email to The Atlantic Wire. "And kind of creepy to tweet the dead."
Wilson's grave game can be seen on the Fiction Festival's showcase page, which highlights the projects chosen by a panel of "experts from around the publishing industry in the US." Other projects include W.W. Norton's retweeting of Shakespeare, a story told in French from @fabricecolin, the trials of @ProudZombieMom, and a YA Sasquatch romance.
Wilson told The Wire that she dreamed up her project on a book tour in the midwest. "My first book, Running Away to Home, is a travelogue that's partially set in the ancient cemetery of my ancestral mountain village," she wrote. "My current book, which is fiction, is also partially set in a cemetery. I have a grave thing."
The Festival comes as a benefit to "mid-level" authors who have to work to get publicity, she explained. "But when something happens like this, a social media source elevates a writer's work by turning the tables and showcasing their toils, that really helps," she wrote. "It's boosted my book sales, from what I've seen. And it's been a hell of a lot of fun."