Friday, November 6, 2009

Experimenting with Twitter

by Scott Rhoades

I once entered a contest where each participant had to write a complete story in the space of a single Twitter tweet. Throughout the month of October, I expanded on this idea by carrying out a little experiment: I wrote a little Halloween story one 140-character piece per day. Or that was the idea, anyway.

The results were mixed. The biggest problem was that, since these were such small chunks and were so fast to write, I tended to forget about it. There were several days where I had to play catch-up and write two or three episodes at once, which, in a way, defeats the purpose. I also hadn't thought out the story, so it wasn't up there with my best work.

But, it was worth doing. Just the exercise of having to write something that made sense and moved the story forward in such a little space provided useful practice for keeping my prose simple and choosing the right words. I had to really pay attention to my nouns and verbs because I had no space for adjectives and adverbs. The writing had to be tight, even if it wasn't necessarily great.

If you sometimes struggle when you try to say a lot with a little, you might try something like this for practice. Or you might just do it for fun. Either way, you'll learn something, either that writing tight is difficult or that Twitter is a stoopid place to try to write a story. And, hopefully, in the process you'll have a little fun.


I look forward to carving jack-o-lanterns every year for one main reason: it's a fun way to get at the delicious pumpkin seeds. This year I roasted them a little differently than usual and really liked the results, so I thought I'd share for those of you who still have pumpkins sitting around your porches.

Fresh pumpkins

Preheat 300-degree oven.

Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and let them soak for a little while in water, then rinse them in a colander to remove as much pulp and strings as you can. You can leave a little for more flavor.

Soak seeds in salty water. I like mine salty, so I use a lot of salt in the water. Overnight is great, but an hour or two works. Drain seeds, but don't rinse.

Melt about a tablespoon of butter (or slightly less) and mix in enough seeds for one batch on a cookie sheet until all seeds are coated.

Arrange seeds in a single layer (very important) on the cookie sheet and put in oven.

Bake about 45 minutes until golden brown, stirring at least once.

Repeat until all your seeds are toasted.


Tiffany Dominguez said...

Thanks for the pumpkin recipe--we got a ton from our garden this year so we'll have to try it. Also, I've been wondering what the big deal is with twitter. I don't have an account yet, but apparently twitter is now an integral part of online marketing.

Scott said...

Twitter's big where I work, and I know people who are addicted to it, but I have to admit, I don't quite get it either. Maybe if I dug deeper, I dunno.