It’s both weird and a relief that I’m not trying to do #thenightshift anymore. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed the experience handily, and even though the finished project was a bit Roland Emmerich-y of me, I honestly came away with a little growth as a writer. So maybe it was worth it.
I never had much use for Twitter beforehand; most of my acquaintances weren’t on it, and any creative impulses I felt were either channeled into attempts at professional-level writing efforts, or through postings here on WordPress. However, I was drawn to what I perceived Twitter to fundamentally be: a collection of stories, pieced together through flickering glimpses into minds and events. I liked that a lot, and wanted somehow to indulge myself in this perception.
With October, and thus Halloween, approaching, I wanted to do something that would properly honor my favorite holiday, while also stimulating me creatively. And even though I had no idea what it would be about, one week before the month actually began, I announced I would start telling a story through a series of rushed, half-assed tweets. The announcement was small: to the few who followed me on WordPress, and to the acquaintances I keep in contact with on Facebook.
Luckily I was starting to gain an understanding of the importance of tags and hashtags on here and Twitter, respectively, and some fortunate combination of terms drew the attention of Emma Audsley from the Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog. Emma was kind enough to reblog my little update, and though I’ve hardly swept the online world, the increased exposure certainly encouraged me to keep up with the effort, even though for a good week I had no idea where the fuck I was going with it.
Ultimately, I’m glad I did it. There may be many things I’m disappointed with about it, such as
– the lack of thorough characterization
– an over-emphasis on action when I should have realized the format lent itself more to mood and atmosphere
– the transparently off-the-cuff style
…but there were also several things I took away that I think will help me as a writer, like
– recognizing that every line needs to count
– realizing every sentence can tell its own story
– understanding that a truly massive amount of information can be shared with surprisingly few words.
I value #thenightshift for what it is: as both a simple-minded little story about giant bugs, and as an experiment from which other, richer efforts can grow. I’m already considering another serial, tentatively called #novembernightmares, which will be a much shorter but hopefully much richer effort. Whether it’s wanted, or even if it’s rejected, is irrelevant. I liked what #thenightshift gave me, and if there’s more to learn from the effort, I want to know it. We’ll see how things go.
– The Awful Writer