To Tweet, or What to Tweet, That is the Story

Guest post by Omer Wahaj, DWLer and Articles Editor at Papercuts

It was sometime last year that I introduced a topic about writing 6-word stories on the Breaking the Block thread on DWL forums. The idea was neither mine nor something new with the first 6-word story allegedly attributed to being written by Ernest Hemingway in the 1920s. The exercise was that each story, in its 6 words, must have conflict, action, and resolution; e.g.: “Protagonist hurt. Antagonist killed. The end.” I thought it would be a good exercise and that people might enjoy the challenge. The thread got a good response in the beginning with various members posting some really nice stories. But then it started annoying some people, some writers went off on weird tangents, others lost interest and the thread pretty much died.

A couple of months ago, someone mentioned that it would be a better idea to have stories that could not be more than 140 characters, as in a tweet on Twitter. Afia posted a link to this book ( that someone had written on Twitter composed entirely of tweets. I thought it would be a good idea to start something similar on DWL and have people post tweet-sized stories.

Then came the technical problem of limiting the post size, which was important, as it was much easier to count 6 words than to be able to keep track of 140 characters. I thought it would be a good idea to reduce the box to 140 characters to make it easier for the writers. However, I found out that that couldn’t be done for one particular thread and if we decided to limit the posting size, it would have to be across the forums for all threads, which would not only be kind of stupid but totally foolish as well.

That’s when I thought that I’d be a copycat and write my own Twitter novel. I started thinking about it and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it could be done. Many ideas began brewing in my head and I’d record them as they came to me. I had made a Twitter account a long time ago but had hardly ever used it. By February 1, I had enough ideas to begin, had somehow amassed some 20 odd new followers, and that’s when I officially started The Just-In Case Files of Shandar Misttry, Inventive Generalist. It’s been going steady since then and I just completed the second chapter yesterday.

This series of tweets follows our protagonist, Shandar Misttry, an investigative journalist for Chay TV in Karachi, as he fights vampires, foils a mad scientist’s plans, becomes a zombie lover, and does a lot more cool stuff that I have not quite entirely thought of yet.

So, click those mice and join in the fun and adventure. Follow me on Twitter @omerwahaj ( to follow the exploits of Shandar Misttry as they happen!