Twitter Writing Contest: Win an IPod Nano For the Best 140 Character Story


The Twitter Writing Contest is Now Closed. Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry, and winners will be announced Friday, May 30.

Can you tell a story in exactly 140 characters?

That’s the idea behind the first ever @copyblogger Twitter writing contest.

It should be a great exercise and a lot of fun. Being constrained to exactly 140 characters will spark your creative juices and force you to focus stringently on word choice, sentence structure, and even punctuation.

Here’s an example that I tweeted over the weekend:

Three flies are bugging me on the deck. I kill two, and spare the third. “Go tell the others this is what happens,” I warn as he buzzes off.

OK, so that’s a bit of a goofy spoof on Keiser Soze from The Usual Suspects. But it’s still a mini-story that allows the reader’s imagination to run with it.

Did I go hunt down the other flies along with their families and neighbors?

Or did the flies retaliate Amityville Horror style?

See, it is fun. And it’s great for sharpening your writing skills, too.

But of course, we aren’t always motivated by what’s good for us. So, let’s add in another incentive.

Whoever writes the best Twitter story (as determined by me and a couple of other Twitteriffic judges) will win an IPod Nano 4 GB from Amazon in your choice of available colors. Plus, you’ll have bragging rights as the winner of the first-ever Twitter writing contest (at least that I know of).

Ready to play?

Just post a link to your Tweet (one per person, please) in the comments to this post before 5:00 PM CST on this Friday, May 23, 2008. That’s all there is to it, but remember…

It’s not 140 characters or less, it’s exactly 140 characters. Cool?

P.S. If anyone out there wants to contribute additional prizes for the winner, or for second and third place, email me and we’ll sweeten the pie.

P.P.S. Out of fairness, Copyblogger regular contributors are not eligible to win, but encouraged to play along any way.

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Reader Comments (643)

  1. says

    Brilliant Idea… I remember there being something similar with a “write a story in 6 words” somewhere in the blogosphere…

    This should get people excited :)


  2. says

    I got one! It’s adapted from a real situation I heard days ago, re-told the story into one where I found the source of that chilling cry just minutes ago. :)

    Tweet sent to u. @Daniel_Richard

  3. says

    I will say I wondered what was up with the fly thing. “Huhhhh, Brian needs a break,” I thought to myself.

    Of course I’ve got to try it . . .

  4. says

    Brian, would the following piece qualify? Let me know and I’ll post it on my site and provide a link later.

    A Tweet is neat. Not the tweety one – the Tweet with thumbs – the er breed. On the go? Send a tweet. You never know. The tweets you’ll meet.


  5. says

    ps. I know it’s twitter with an “I” but you said you “tweeted” so is that the correct past tense? (I don’t use twitter yet so I’m not up on the twitter vocabulary).

    I’ll change the spelling if needed.

  6. Beth Harte says

    My cat attacked my husband and I used his new bottle of Jameson to kill germs fast. Husband more upset about bottle than bites.

  7. says

    To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question. Is this event interestingly mundane enough to steal 4.3 seconds of life from my 14 followers?

  8. says

    This looks pretty sweet, I will partipate and who knows. I might just win this thing for crying out loud. Everytime I read copyblogger I get something!

  9. says

    I had set up a site for a similar contest, but you beat me to it! So I’ve linked to your contest instead. (However, every sentence in my contest announcement is exactly 140 characters …)

  10. says

    A couple of buddies and I bugged a guy on his deck. He killed my friends and threatened all of us flies. Poor soul doesn’t realize the maggots and I will have the last laugh.

  11. says

    I don’t know how to make those links happen, so I posted it on Twitter and here it is again:

    The coffee whispered, “Drink, addict. Feed your veins.” He struggled, resisted, but lost the fight and succumbed to the luring sweet sludge.

    Loved the fly story.

  12. says

    Here’s mine – it’s 140 characters in Word.
    Thanks, Tineke :)


    Time to tango. ‘Terrific’ trills Tony. ‘Twit’ thinks Tessa. Tony twirls toward Tessa. Tumultuous turn. Trips, topples. Tessa tastes triumph.


  13. lawrence berezin says

    Great idea. I would love to participate, but having trouble with a link. Kindly consider the following story as my entry. Thanks!

    It is a sunny day at the shore. I am fishing and cast my line to the beach. My bait is a ham sandwich. He can’t see the hook. I reel him in.

  14. says

    I suck. I can’t figure out that statuses address. Grr. Here’s my entry

    It’d been 2 years. She was feeling her 30s, but he still had his youth. When her husband went for the luggage, their eyes found one another.

  15. Laura Stephens-Daniels says

    Brushing the dirt off, frigid with fear; Eli knew her former self was forever gone, her essence violated. Choices crystallised. To be a victim, or await resurrection.

  16. says

    here is my entry:

    Staring at my reflection in the toilet I wonder if the lost city of Atlantis is down there, lost in the collective unconscious of our memory

  17. says

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was going crazy trying to follow all the interesting entries so far, clicking back and forth between here and Twitter. (I know at least a few others have expressed similar frustrations.)

    So I did some legwork and put together a singular location where all entries can be viewed in succession in a slideshow (using Diigo.)

    Quick explanation and the link are on my blog here.


    Daniel Smith

  18. says

    By the way, in case it isn’t obvious the slideshow only works when Twitter isn’t down, which hasn’t been as often as it should be…

  19. says

    This has been so much fun to do. I had 2 or 3 great stories started; then computer glitch and so my story is a personal one. Wasn’t quite sure how to post this like everybody else has been; but hope this works.

    Thanks for doing this contest. It has been a blast to read all the others. Mind-waster? Nah. Mind-expander!

  20. says

    Okay, I have to ask. There is no such thing as a dumb question, right?

    What do you do to get your tweet post in here with just the post you are sending on your Twitter background with the statuses/numbers after your link. Obviously doing what I did took you to my home page not just the update for the story.

    Hey, what you don’t know you don’t know is only discovered when you need to know what you don’t know.

  21. says

    Missylol – When you look at the Tweet on your home page, you’ll see that the time stamp (ie: 35 minutes ago, etc.) is a link too – click that and it will take you to the status link that everyone has been posting. Hope that helps.

    Daniel Smith

  22. Mel says

    They looked at me strangely as I spread the ashes. I like it that way. They’ll never figure it out. And that is the best for all four of us.

  23. RunDRC says

    Some say I should have acted differently, but walking away was the only solution. I couldn’t go through that again – at least not this soon.

  24. Tiiu says

    Inside the trunk, I kick out the brake light and wave wildly to the car behind me. Leaning forward, the old man sees me! Then he waves back.

  25. A.Roots says

    Suddenly, I felt a warm flood gushing down the length of my work pants. I had to hose myself off and then make sure to avoid the enormous Great Dane who mistook me for a tree.

  26. says

    Just joined twitter for this competition. Now can’t work out how to add my entry (which I’ve written). Help please?!

  27. says

    PS An idiot’s guide required. I just joined, wrote one what I’m doing and signed up to follow copyblogger. Now can’t manage to get in to write anything else …

  28. says

    PS An idiot’s guide required. I just joined, wrote one what I’m doing and signed up to follow copyblogger. Now can’t manage to get in to write anything else …

    This is my entry by the way:

    A girl’s screaming eyes and a boy’s bag hidden beneath the bed told the story: birthday card, aspirin, CDs and water bottle. Ready. Waiting.

  29. says

    A fly landed on my nose, and as I shooed it away, 2 more landed on my back. I kept shooing them away but more & more flies just kept coming.

    There. That’s my entry. Hope it is OK, and that it qualifies. Also, I’m in Australia, will it be valid?

  30. says

    Twitter Tip 4 anyone wanting 2 enter this cool contest & post their 140 tweet story link here.

    “How To get a link to any tweet you write”

    1) Tweet – hit update as usual
    2) Visit
    3) Enter your username in the search box & hit SEARCH button
    4) Search Twitter in realtime – your last tweet will be listed at the top
    5) Click “View Tweet” link for the tweet you want to grab the link to
    6) copy the link that shows up in your browser
    7) paste the link to your tweet anywhere you’d like (except your forehead)

    ex of what your link from summize will look like when you do this:

    Cool tip 4 newbies eh?
    I hope this Twitter Tip (Twip) helps save u tons of time.

    Author of the
    Twitter Handbook
    with @WarrenWhitlock

  31. says

    when is the contest over? Just wondering how long we have.. So far, I have two potentials I’m considering… A time limit may help :)

  32. says

    Inside the trunk, I kick out the brake light and wave wildly to the car behind me. Leaning forward, the old man sees me! Then he waves back

  33. says

    Every time she called to say she wasn’t coming home it was like a sharp dagger to his already wounded heart. No matter, life goes on and on.

  34. says

    Completely flummoxed by Twitter. Hubbie and I labored for an hour trying to figure out how to post correct link.

    Am posting what I think is correct:

    In the likely case I’m wrong, my 140-character story follows:

    Fr. Tim’s top drawer revealed his attachment to worldly pleasure. Fire cleanses, thought Suki. She dropped her lit Pall Mall onto his socks.

    P.S. Last night it seemed a terse noir masterwork. Morning brings reality.

  35. says

    Toothpaste squeezes, eggs aren’t cracked, pizza delivered, headache’s better, beer anyone? Packaging a love affair you never knew you had.

  36. J. Ordan says

    Mopping his brow with a torn out page from Auto Trader, Jordan sighed and ejaculated into the exhaust pipe for the second time that evening.

  37. says

    Having a lot of fun reading these (almost as much as writing my own :) ). Good luck all.. I don’t like my chances, but I’ve greatly enjoyed the exercise!

  38. says

    David (#474):

    Tavid turned Tineke’s twitter to tedious, tasteless tripe. Tineke tweeted 202, Tavid’s tweet trailed. To take Tineke’s tweet-idea? Terrible!

    Tineke :)

  39. says

    I’m posting my entry here as there’s a problem with Twitter at the moment. It’s exactly 140 characters in Twitter.

    She saw the alien mass and froze. It wiggled. It wobbled. Suddenly, realization dawned on her. She screamed with horror, “It’s a pimple!!!”.

  40. sean donis layton says

    Been trying to post on Twitter for 2 days but keep getting technical difficulties *sigh* Guess I’ll just pop it in here for now.

    The taste of oily gunmetal remains. He looks at the squib round in his palm—a stigmata in bullet form. He places the pistol on the car seat.

  41. Linda R. says

    Here’s my entry … exactly 140 characters in twitter.
    Posting here because twitter is unreliable.

    Back on the saddle ~ spinning with courage, grace & POWER. Keeping my legs PUMPED. I’m 1 pedal away from achieving ‘Rock Star’ sexy status!

  42. says

    My twitter entry

    Some adults justify net worth by income, thus living in an environment of poverty. Children value net worth by being able to lick the spoon!

  43. says

    Here goes:

    “Good day little spider,” I said to my little buddy crawling on the wasll. “What the F@#% are you looking at?” he replied. “A smear,” I said.

  44. Barbara says

    Yep, Twitter is having technical difficulties … so here’s my entry:

    Alone in the gallery, he stands before the painting. Rocky coastline, dawn. Distant clouds, two sailboats. Calm. Remembering her, he weeps.

  45. says

    Here goes:

    Typo in my previous version.

    “Good day little spider,” I said to my little buddy crawling on the wall. “What the F@#% are you looking at?” he replied. “A smear,” I said.

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