I'm not the most prolific tweeter (twit?) on Twitter, but this morning, I noticed something while I was trying to communicate a bigger idea in only 140 characters. Tweeting really makes you ponder over every character. Do I really need that period? Can I say it this way and still have it mean the same thing?
Here's what I wanted to say:
There's a light pulsing softly in my neighbor's upstairs window. Being a rational person, I know there's a reasonable explanation. Being a writer, I'm thinking something more along the lines of aliens or a gateway to hell.
That's definitely not 140 characters. And Twitter let me know it because it turns the extra characters pink for some reason. (Why pink? I'll never know.) In fact, that statement is 87 characters too long. Time for a little editing on my tiny thought.
A light is pulsing softly in my neighbor's upstairs window. I know there's a reasonable explanation, but my writer brain? It's thinking aliens or a gateway to hell.
Better, but still too long. Now I'm down 60 characters, but I'm looking at a 27 character difference. Delete some extraneous spaces (yeah, I'm the person who learned to double-space between sentences and now I can't stop). Trim a few loose words... And hey! I can squoze some words together by doing that hashtag thing and not lose meaning.
What I ended up with is this:
A soft light is pulsing in my neighbor's attic window. My writer brain is
thinking... aliens? hell's gateway? #creepy #rationalmeknowsbetter
Now that's a deep edit. Think about how much we can all trim our manuscripts down if we thought the way Twitter thinks. Sure, we can't use the hashtag trick, but thinking in terms of what Twitter would allow, we can certainly trim some of the fat off.
Give it a whirl sometime when you know you have to trim the fat off somewhere. Paste your unwieldy sentences into the tweet box and see if you can't get that sucker down to 140 characters or less. (You don't have to click 'Tweet' - just use the tool and delete it.)
What about you? Does this sound like something you could use? And what about the whole Twitter thing? I mean, if you're a wordy person like me, do you find it hard to say what you want to say in 140 characters?
And if you want to follow me on Twitter, I'm @BE_Sanderson. I look forward to tweeting with you. =o)
One last thing... Stop by here tomorrow for a special Pimpage post for my friend Kerry Schafer!