Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Writing Tips Tweets

Personally, I feel twitter is a fad -- somewhat like CB Radio was/is. Its popularity may be peaking now. It may disappear, replaced by something else, or it may be left only to those who've found a real use for it.

But at this time, I think most people who spend any time phone texting or online will find twitter useful, provided they are selective about the people they link to.

Me, I'm all about writing, reading and screenwriting -- the place of the entertainment media in nourishing the soul (can you think of any better soul-nourishment than a good Romance?)

So projects like this new one below catch my interest.

Jean Lorrah, my sometime collaborator and co-owner of Sime~Gen Inc., ( www.jeanlorrah.com ) has started a twitter.com account to post short tips on writing for writers.

http://twitter.com/tipsonwriting is the page that will show you the list of tips.

You can get these sent to your phone as text messages if you join twitter, or have them sent to your own twitter account by "following" tipsonwriting . Or log into the http://twitter.com/tipsonwriting/ page to see them. And Jean has the feed from the tips account posted on various websites. It's currently on the top page of simegen.com too.

Subscribing to Jean's Writing Tips Tweets could be the quickest way to break writer's block. Just try each day to do what the Tip suggests, in the simplest way you can, not for publication but just a practice swatch for yourself.

You might want to post the results on
as a comment and get feedback on your exercise. But that might be intimidating so it could be better to just keep it in your own file to be mined for publishable ideas later.

But if you're practicing, just do a practice swatch of words for yourself and presto you'll be writing and then the words will come roaring out.

Jean might take contributions or retweet other writers' tips later. DM her on twitter.

Twitter isn't ONLY for those who have unlimited text messaging on their phones. There are a number of websites around that help you use twitter or publicize your activity on twitter. And there's a browser toolbar you can install on your browser to help you follow your incoming tweets, or send tweets. More brands of browsers will no doubt be getting this toolbar enabled for all kinds of social networking sites.

friendbar is an add-on for the firefox browser. Browse some add-ons here:

People are blogging like mad about the tools that make twitter easier to live with.

Here's an article:

Jean Lorrah found http://www.tweetlater.com which helps you manage multiple twitter accounts. Imagine that - MULTIPLE twitter accounts!

These Web 2.0 tools are being invented faster than I can keep track, but their purpose is to relieve the frantic and overwhelmed feeling we all get from multitasking beyond our capacity and to dodge spam floods such as the current worm infection is causing.

A lot of these tools will fail quickly. Much of it is advertising supported with a "free" level and a professional or paid subscription level.

As I said, Twitter is designed to help you avoid dealing with tons of spam in your email box. Dodging spam is a trend among younger people today both because parents want to insulate them from the trash in spam, and because life is too short to scan spam for hours a day. So they connect to a limited number of people they really know, and communicate in depth with that small number. That makes texting and tweeting a very efficient and cost-effective method of establishing and maintaining deep relationships.

But the social networks can waste a lot of time, too.

Twitter has a higher velocity message flow because each message is so short, so it feels like it's less of a burden. The shortness of the messages are like the half-sentence utterances in a real life conversation.

I can hardly wait for a teen romance novel that consists of nothing but tweets, like the Historical novels that consisted of nothing but letters (or like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germain novels, though the letters are less plot-movers than they were in her earlier books.) I loved that format and can see a huge potential for it in twitter.

Can you imagine, for example, a time-travel romance with the two lovers separated by centuries but communicating through a portal that would allow only tweet-sized text messages?

Perhaps I'm intrigued by "short" because it's something I can't do. I don't suppose readers of this blog have noticed that trait of mine ...

The problem with twitter is that it is indeed "faster moving" -- which makes you pant to keep up if you follow more than four or five very taciturn people. Hence these other online tools for "managing" your twitter account(s!)

It's a trend, though, to use one more technological application to cure a problem caused by another technological add-on to an otherwise frantic life, and it's happening in all walks of life. Maybe we should term it Tech-Defense, or Tai Kwon Tech?

For example, some techie noticed how the older generation resists techie gadgets (like digital picture frames) and came up with a digital picture frame application that simplifies shouting over the chasm between generations.

They put a digital picture frame on the household wireless network.

There are quite a few manufacturers of those wireless frames, and already a factory-installed mall ware virus was distributed by Best Buy last year via one of the USB plug picture frames. But the viruses haven't yet invaded your computer over the wireless connection. Maybe next year.

But the deal is this.

Young people can take phone or digital pix and EMAIL THEM directly to grandma's picture frame. The frame logs onto grandma's house wireless (you may have to go install a router), and downloads 40 or 50 pictures at say 3AM. It download the pix you uploaded via email attachment (or other means) to the hosting website.

The next day, a whole new slide-show turns up for Grandma to see and she did nothing to make it happen. She doesn't even have to understand how it works! She'll just grin delightedly at her grandchildren.

I love this concept. It is a subscription product though, and the kids have to take the pictures, upload them to the site which the frame logs onto, and pay for renting the bandwidth on the picture hosting site. Here's an example: http://www.ceiva.com/ is a hosting website that sells its own picture frame. You can also find it by searching ceiva on amazon. They gotta be making a fortune on this! I can handle tech, and I want it!

The Digital picture frame has become one of the hottest products on the market, and there are a number of sites that are set up to share pictures with a frame.

I think it'll be the biggest seller this coming gift season -- because I WANT ONE VERY BADLY! The wireless feature really has me hooked.

But consider both Jean's twitter writing tips and this picture frame all in one breath.

We're looking at a TREND here - tech that cures tech problems. Writers of futuristic or paranormal romance can exploit this concept. Find a problem, any problem that keeps lovers apart, and cure the problem with an application of the very thing that caused the problem to begin with. "Hair of the dog."

Think of this scene. A guy wants a girl to pay attention to him. He swaps the picture frame on her work desk for a wireless frame of his own. Then sends her pictures to sell himself to her? Or maybe he hacks into her frame's download site and intersperses his own pix with those of her cousin's new baby?

Practical joke: swap your frame for someone else's and send them baby pictures of someone you want to embarrass.

Paranormal: Suppose a techie ghost finds a way to impose pix on a wireless frame?

Oh, the story potential is totally endless! Welcome to the 21st Century.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

PS: if you get anything published based on anything like twitter or digital frames, do please be sure I get a review copy and a note referencing this blog! Whee!!! The story potential of those wireless frames is totally endless!!!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Jacqueline,

    Great blog, thank you!

    I have two Twitter accounts. I hit a ceiling with http://www.twitter.com/rowenacherry because I am following approximately 2,000 librarians, media journalists, and reviewers, and only 1,000 of them are reciprocating (quite a decent ratio).

    I started http://twitter.com/SpaceSnark to see if one of those Twitter pyramid schemes work.

    They don't.

    So, now, I follow my friends there. Having two Twitter accounts means that I can have the benefits of ReTweeting (by talking to myself) without the RT tag.

    My opinion is that ReTweeting is a bit spammy. But... alas... I'm older and I march to a different drummer.

    I removed the previous Comment of mine because there was a typo.

  3. Great post, Jacqueline!

    I don't have time to be actively involved in any other cyberspace things right now, but I'll definitely check out the writing tweet-tips.

    I've read and reviewed several Young Adult novels with text messaging in them at both Enduring Romance and Young Adult Science Fiction, such as this one by Mari Mancusi-


    All of them had romantic subplots, but that was the extent. GAMER GIRL had the young couple getting together via online gaming.

  4. Kimber Ann, Gamer Girl is not that far off the mark. That's how my daughter met her current boyfriend.

    A large element of the plot of my current WIP involves characters interacting via an online computer game while stranded on an alien space station.

    Not quite twitter but definitely involving today's technology.

    Summing it up in one sentence of less than 20 words is proving difficult. It's so "out there" it sounds like a joke.