Author Arjun Basu of Montreal got on Twitter last fall and published a handful of “typically banal” tweets. Then inspiration hit and he created his first Twister. That’s what he calls his short short stories of 140 characters. Since then he’s written over a thousand Twisters and become a popular source for readers seeking a regular fix of micro-fiction.
As a child he delivered newspapers. As an adult he delivered bad news daily. Because he was a negative person. And the world’s worst surgeon 5:34 AM Apr 29th
Micro-fiction is not new to the web, as those of you who contributed to Sepia Mutiny’s flash fiction Fridays know. The shortest of the form might be six-word memoirs like the ones found at Smith Magazine. Links to more micro-fiction on the web are welcome in the comments.
They lived happily. At least that’s what they told their friends. It wasn’t true. The dog whined incessantly. And neither of them could cook 5:34 PM Jun 15th
Basu publishes each Twister as a “wholly formed” story. In a recent radio interview with Masala Canada he described each one as having a beginning, middle and end with some kind of transformation and read aloud a few of his favorites. His 140-character stories fall into different categories; romantic relationships, family, work and mundane experiences. The character limit poses a challenge each time. Occasionally he engages in “one bit of cheating,” leaving the final period off to prevent them from exceeding the character limit.
All the soccer moms wear their yoga gear while sipping lattes. Jones wonders which one to flirt with. He brought along his dog for a reason. 7:11 AM Jun 13th
The marriage didn’t survive the honeymoon. They acknowledged the majesty of their mistake. But they remained together. Because of the gifts. 7:52 AM Jun 15th
The chef entered the dining room to great applause. Except from Jerry. Who wanted ribs, not some deconstructed thing with foam. He threw up. 1:30 PM Jun 10th
When he’s not tweeting Twisters or working as an editorial director, Basu is writing a novel. Last year he came out with his first book “Squishy,” a collection of short stories about what he calls the squishy moments in life â€” the “minute moments or insignificant decisions” that “change our lives without our knowing.”
When he stroked her shoulder softly she felt it all the way in her toes. And she knew she would end up marrying him. Because she had no legs about 2 hours ago
The air is fresh, the promise of something lovely in it, of magic. And then the wind shifts. And he is reminded he lives next to a pig farm. 7:51 AM Jun 9th
Publishing short stories on Twitter is another outlet for his writing and exercises a different part of his brain, according to Basu. It’s fun because the “feedback is almost instantaneous, and writers don’t usually get that. Some Twisters go out there and people start writing you within seconds. For a writer that’s almost like catnip.” (link)
Explaining the influence of poet and short-story writer Raymond Carver on his work, Basu said that “reading Carver, I understood, finally, that art exists in every moment of every life. Art doesn’t have to be ‘big.’ A real story, no matter how seemingly insignificant, exists everywhere. You just have to look for it.” You can look for Basu’s short stories @arjunbasu and read his most “favorited” stories here at Favotter.