Long form writing has found all sorts of outlets in our digital world of tweeting and blogging. There are curators like Longform and Pocket, Kindle Singles for novellas and non-fiction exploration, and digital publishers like the Atavist and Byliner. Now, The New Yorker will tweet the entirety of Jennifer Egan’s latest short story—all 8,500 words of it.
The story, called “Black Box,” will be published in next Monday’s magazine. But starting tonight at 8 p.m., @NYerFiction will be tweeting the story every minute for an hour. This hour of story-tweeting will last 10 days, and was born out of the author’s inclination to explore serialized fiction. As Egan writes on The New Yorker’s Page Turner blog, “This is not a new idea, of course, but it’s a rich one—because of the intimacy of reaching people through their phones, and because of the odd poetry that can happen in a hundred and forty characters.”
The story is a spy-thriller built around a character from her novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad.” Interestingly, Egan told The New York Times she does not really like tweeting. She’s only ever tweeted four times, and described the experience as seeming “phony.” But starting tonight, you’ll be able to read “terse mental dispatches from a female spy of the future” in 140-character portions. The nature of the story is even prompting The New Yorker to use a different, more tweet-friendly font for its print publication.
Will you log in to experience this serialized short story? And what do you think about this idea for other long form endeavors—fiction and non-fiction?