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16 Little Things About Writing #TwitterFiction
Thoughts on writing Epic Retold
Chindu Sreedharan comment 0 Comments access_time 2 min read

Here are some interesting things about writing Epic Retold that I have never told anyone (well, not really):

  1. The first tweets that I drafted were total rubbish, but I thought they were cool. It took two kind friends to put me straight. Luckily, they stopped me before I went live.
  2. A crucial aspect of making a story work is the ‘attitude’ (which goes beyond mere ‘voice’) of the protagonist. This is even more crucial in #Twitterfiction, where you have more demanding audiences. I found first-person telling the most effective to capture this on Twitter.
  3. When I started ER in 2009, I had every intention of finishing it within a few months. It took me a few years.
  4. I thought the 140-character limit would be limiting. I actually found it liberating.
  5. I think of the Mahabharata as an anti-war story.
  6. I think of ER an anti-war story, for which I draw from the principles of Peace Journalism and similar.
  7. I struggled writing the love scenes. I also struggled writing the killings at Kurukshetra.
  8. But I had great fun drawing in Marshall McLuhan into the fray and have Krishna say, when Ghatotkacha is killed: “Any advanced weapon is indistinguishable from magic to many!
  9. I had tears in my eyes when I killed Ghatotkacha.
  10. ER was written on an iPhone, iPad, and Mac; at home, at work, between lectures, at dinner, at airports, in airplanes, on buses, in cars… but much of it was written in a Subway in Landsdowne , Bournemouth.
  11. I saw the bearded face of Hemingway when I struggled with the dialogue in ER.
  12. I heard the French of Genette and his Narrative Discourse when I struggled with scenes I couldn’t decide on whether to write ‘long or short’.
  13. I loved getting Drishtadyumna to say: ‘War is ugly. There has never been one without treachery. There never will be.’
  14. I had O Henry in mind when I wrote the last chapter. I had a fair idea how I would end ER, but I figured out the twist only towards the very end.
  15. I struggled a lot with the battle between Arjuna and Karna, but now it is one of the bits I like most. Which is your favourite part in ER?
  16. One of my favourite characters is Hidimbi. Who is yours?

And you can read a bit of ER by way of this excerpt.

This is from an online discussion on digital narratives organised by The Digital Studies Center at Rutgers-Camden, which has since been published in Social Media Narrative: Issues in Contemporary Practice.

Fiction Literature Mahabharata Retelling Twitter Twitterfiction Writing