Luna Tang, a Writing and Publishing graduate student, is working on her craft – 200 characters at a time.
Tang is the reigning champion of #WeeklyLittlePieces, a Twitter contest for Writing, Literature, and Publishing students launched at the start of the Fall semester that challenges contestants to create a literary triumph in 200 characters or less (bumped up from 100 or less in November to reflect Twitter’s expanded character count). Entries are judged by a rotating slate of WLP faculty members, and the winners are tweeted by the esteemed @Emerson_WLP.
“It feels like a screenwriter is creating a screen and trying to give the audience a punchline within 10 seconds,” Tang said of her work.
#WeeklyLittlePieces (acronym = WLP. See what they did there?) is the brainchild of Jerrika Waller, herself a WLP graduate student and research assistant for the department. Waller, who manages the department’s social media, was looking for a way to engage more WLP students on Twitter.
Waller’s been getting a steady stream of entries, with one or two devotees like Tang, but she’d like to get more of a raging river.
People don’t specify the genre they’re writing in when they submit pieces, Waller said, and the brevity of the work makes it hard to tell sometimes whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, but it’s been an “interesting mix.”
Some are droll (“Be creative to escape from the destiny of receiving alms from a robot.” — Luna Tang). Some are chilling (“Fame crept up his body and around his neck, tighter, until the boy smiled for all the world to see.” — Dev Patil). At least one was mathematical (“[Word Count/Days until Deadline (Can be neg.)] X Stress Level (NEVER neg.)=how good my writing is” – Anu Reddy). Waller said a lot of them write about writing, which probably shouldn’t be surprising.
“Most of them seem to be dark,” she said. “There’s a mood they’re trying to go for.”
Tang, who is an international student, said she sees them as a way to practice her grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure, and she looks to friends for feedback before submitting them.
But beyond being a technical exercise, #WeeklyLittlePieces is just a good channel for expression, according to Tang.
“I am simply enjoying the process,” she said.
To enter #WeeklyLittlePieces, write piece of 200 characters or less and direct message it to one of WLP’s Twitter (@Emerson_WLP) or Facebook accounts (@EmersonCollegeWLP or @WLPTownCrier), or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for submissions is Wednesdays at 10:00 am; winners will be tweeted on Fridays.