Category Archives: Vestigial Tales

Micro short up on Nanoism

You may remember a post from a little while back in which I mentioned several great places to submit flash fiction (Flash! (AAAAAAHHHH!)). Well, I’m chuffed to report that one of them, Nanoism, just published one of my super short pieces yesterday 🙂

Please pop over to Nanoism.net to give it and a ton of other nano pieces a read. You can also follow the zine on Twitter (@nanoism) or friend them via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nanoismmag/).

VTCover

If you like what you see there, why not give my collection of microfiction, Vestigial Tales, a try? Right now the e-book version can be yours for only 99c on Amazon!

That’s all for now, folks. Keep being excellent to each other.

Thanks for playing!

Thousands of characters everywhere and not a word to read!

As everybody on the internet is undoubtedly aware, last month Twitter, a platform of which I am rather fond, announced that they are considering expanding their strict 140 character limit to a whopping 10,000 characters.

pablo-3-800x400

Although the powers that be at Twitter HQ were quick to defend this change as being in the best interest of the micro blogging site’s users, allowing them to communicate more effectively and with greater creativity, the rest of the world was pretty sure the proposed character expansion was a thinly veiled attempt to appease shareholders who have seen the value of their stock plummet in recent months as the number of active tweeters reportedly falls.

Sadly, for Twitter HQ, I suppose, their much maligned character adjustment had the exact opposite effect, spawning a heated backlash across the platform and prompting the value of their stock to fall even further. Despite this, it looks as though the change is still going to go ahead giving readers the option to see tweets in their original, concise form or “read on” by clicking a link to an expanded view. Whether this change proves to be positive or negative is yet to be seen and I don’t intend to jump upon the bandwagon of Twitter-bashing here. I do, however, want to address the proposed change as it relates rather powerfully to my use of the platform for the creation of 140-character works of micro fiction.

VTCover

I started writing Twitter stories in or around February 2010 (I can’t be sure of the year off the top of my head and I can’t be bothered to look back and check just now, but I’m reasonably sure it was about then) initially as an experiment – could I write a complete tale, convey a scene, a snippet of plot, character, or perhaps just an emotion with so few resources? It’s a challenge I blogged about here, and the answer is yes, sometimes. Writing one piece of 140-character micro flash every day means that my output is admittedly hit or miss, but in 2014 I did collect the best ones together into an illustrated ebook called Vestigial Tales which sold atrociously, but of which I am rather proud nonetheless.

The bottom line is that come what may, I won’t be expanding. I do write longer stories – often more that 10, 000 characters (gasp!) – but that’s not what Twitter is about for me and, as long as the platform exists, I’ll be sticking to my self-imposed, artificial limit. Is it frustrating? Sure, sometimes. But it’s also inspiring, and, occasionally, downright brilliant. Who can read Ernest Hemingway’s six word story For Sale, and not be struck by the sadness conveyed in so few syllabus:

“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

Flash or micro fiction can be powerful to read and a lot of fun to write, and Twitter is, in my opinion, a wonderful platform for it. I’m not opposed to giving people the option to write more that 140 characters, although I do question the value of it; so long as Twitter leaves the original, shorter option in tact all is good by me.

#RIPTwitter

But will anybody read my Tweets? Surely that is the question prompted by the hashtag above, spawned a few weeks after the 10, 000 character fiasco in response to further rumored changes which would see the Twitter timeline approximating something like Facebook, displaying first the “most-popular” Tweets rather than the newer ones, relegating tweeters with few followers to the dark end of timeline obscurity.

Needless to say, the Twitterati did not respond favorably to yet another, shareholder oriented change to their platform and soon started declaring Twitter dead via its own trending hashtag system. So not exactly a great start to the year for CEO Jack Dorsey, eh?

Unlike the 10, 000 character shift, the popular-tweets-algorithm talk has been addressed by the Twitter high ups, who have assured users that their voices matter and that any changes which may manifest in future, rumored or otherwise, will be optional.

There will of course be people who opt in. Heck, perhaps it’ll even be a good thing and I’ll find myself signing up too, but one thing is for sure: should the algorithm be unleashed the act of tweeting will never be the same again. No longer will we (the general tweeting public) be assured that our tweets will be seen by our followers, or even our friends, and on a platform famous for democratizing the act of socializing via media, that strikes me as rather sad.

image-20150614-1491-1c6lhjg

So is twitter really dead? I don’t think so. Flash fiction aside, Twitter’s real strength lies, I believe, in its role as an information aggregator, a expansive list of curated links to all manner of content from all corners of the globe. Furthermore, a large part of the love, for me at least, is in the randomness of it all – retweets, likes, even paid-for promotions sending all sorts of links, stories, comments and creations into my timeline, exposing me to things outside of my normal scope, or even comfort zone.

That, in my mind is what makes Twitter greater than Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or just about any other social media platform out there. That is what Twitter stands to lose if it employs a probably very clever, even lucrative, but ultimately reductionist algorithm that renders everybody’s timeline an unsightly splattering of Trump and Kanye West.

No, for the time being Twitter is still alive but its survival is far from sure. Appreciating the capitalist mechanics of the economy, the fact that we all get to tweet for free and that Twitter somehow needs nonetheless to make money, I am not opposed to innovation, experimentation, and monetization, but it has to come on the same sort of wave of creativity that made Twitter so fresh and appealing in the first place. Although Twitter’s at-the-time much publicized role in sparking the Arab Spring movement across the Middle East is recently being challenged, even tarnished in the face of accusations of terror organizations using the platform to plan atrocities, spread hate, and even recruit, we must not loose faith in the internet’s intrinsic power to level the social playing field.

Twitter gives people a voice and it provides them with information. Some voices will be viscous, others never heard and not all of that information shared may be to everyone’s liking, but isn’t that the point of conversation? To expand one’s horizon and share experiences? Twitter gives the hope that each of us, no matter the number of followers, our “popularity”, will nonetheless get to sing.

They may take away our 140 character limit, but they will never take our FREEDOM!

Or maybe they’ll take that too. I just hope they don’t mess up a very good thing in the process.

Vestigial Tales: Short stories in 140-odd characters

With Christmas approaching, I just wanted to take this opportunity to gratuitously remind you that the ebook version of my collection of micro short fiction, Vestigial Tales, can be yours for just 99c!

VTCover

It makes a great virtual Christmas gift for those people you can’t be bothered to go out and buy an actual Christmas gift for.

Don’t say I never do anything nice for you.

TTFN, internet!

Three for Three: Micro-Fiction for March

It’s still March, so I’m getting this one in just under the wire.

In case some of you don’t know, micro fiction (or flash fiction, or micro-narrative, or however you want to label it) is something of an interest of mine. For almost four years now, I have been endeavoring to write a micro short a day and post it to my Twitter account @Liam_Aidan.

This necessarily means squishing any tale I want to tell into 140 characters, including spaces, which is fun, challenging, inspiring, and annoying in turn. It’s a self imposed limit, an attempt to distill the essence of  a story into as small a space as possible, and hopefully improve my writing skills as a result.

Last year, a collection of 106 of the best of my micro shorts, called Vestigial Tales, was published as an ebook by Ichabod Press. You can find out more about that here.

VTCover

Possibly the most famous piece of flash fiction is Ernest Hemingway’s six word story For Sale:

“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

Although I think my personal favorite has to be Knock by Fredric Borwn, the first lines of which constitute a micro short in and of themselves:

“The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…”

Both of these epically tiny tales served as inspiration for my initial foray into micro fiction on Twitter (or twitfic, as a few of us call it), but if you’re looking for additional daily doses of fast and sometimes furious fiction, why not check out my three micro-fiction recommendations below? Each is worth a follow and even the occasional RT.

Twiterati

Arjun Basu

Vikram Paralkar

Very Short Story

Now if they don’t fill your Twitter stream with wonder and delight, then I don’t know what will.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back soon.

TTFN!

Vestigial Tales

OAK TREE REVIEWS

vest

Whether it’s a funny tweet or a humorous Facebook status, I often enjoy reading amusing anecdotes that people post online. So naturally, I found Vestigial Tales: Short stories in 140-odd characters by Liam Aidan to be a pleasant, enjoyable read. If you’re looking for something interesting, witty, and one-of-a-kind, this book is well worth your time! You can find it here on Amazon. 

View original post

Free review copies of Vestigial Tales

Would anybody like a free .epub or .mobi copy of my micro short story collection Vestigial Tales? I have a limited number to give away.

VTCover

If, after you’ve read it, you’d like to write a review for your blog/Amazon/goodreads/Kobo, then so much the better but I don’t need a guarantee.

You can find more info about Vestigial Tales here.

Just fill out the form below if you’re interested and I’ll email you a copy asap.

That’s it.

TTFN, Internet.

“Vestigial Tales” Christmas Promotional Posters

As part of their Christmas sale, Ichabod Press have released three promotional images for Vestigial Tales. Each one shows a story from the book along with its accompanying illustration and I think they look pretty cool!

I’ve posted them below for your perusal along with links to the Kindle and Kobo stores. Don’t forget – you can get Vestigial Tales for just $1.99 over at Amazon, but only until Christmas!

VTFishPromo VTGrandadPromo VTTrancePromo

Happy Holidays!

Vestigial Tales: Short stories in 140-odd characters

Huzzah! Vestigial Tales, my ebook of flash fiction, is here at last!

VTCover

Published by Legends, the fiction imprint of Ichabod Press, Tales is already up on Amazon (link) and will be appearing elsewhere shortly. Plus, there’s a paperback version in the works too.

A massive thank you to everyone who worked with me on this, especially Maria Astakhova, who produced several beautiful illustrations for the book.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher’s website:

“From the crew of a spaceship burning up upon re-entry to one woman’s sad musings over a lonely dead fish, quick-fire pick-up lines that don’t quite have the desired effect or crazed, murderous rants by an accountant pushed the edge, Vestigial Tales presents the reader with unforgettable characters and all manner of strange and fantastical worlds explored through 106 short stories each just 140 characters in length.

Inspired by the writings on his Twitter account, Liam Aidan’s distilled stories cast shadows of much larger worlds that don’t actually exist, the worlds the tales elude to but never fully describe, igniting the reader’s imagination in the process. From wry observational commentary to outright absurdity, Aidan switches between genres and styles ensuring Vestigial Tales contains something to delight everyone.

With original illustrations by Maria Astakhova, and a first line index of all the stories included at the back, Vestigial Tales is a must-have for all fans of flash and micro fiction.”

I’ll post more links as they become available, along with more assorted ramblings, of course.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, unless “forgetting” is your way of politely declining. In which case, carry on.

Book Cover Reveal!

VTCover

BOOM: Vestigial Tales has a cover! We’re one step closer to the actual release.

This short book of my flash fiction is being published by Legends, the fiction imprint of Ichabod Press and is due to appear in ebook form later this month with a paperback version following in due course.

Containing 106 short stories of no more than 140 characters each and lovely original illustrations by Maria Astakhova, I can’t wait to share the finished product with you.

Watch this space for more news and, of course, links to the actual book!