Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cat-Scan a Temporal Tale

A breakthrough for both zoological science and the internet—the first live broadcast of what goes on in a cat’s head.

For pet psychologist Dr Mary May, a chance to prove her worth as a real scientist, for Binky it's just another day as a cat. But then things don't always turn out the way we think they will.

Using his usual light humour to explore thought provoking themes, Cat-Scan is one of the most ambitious time-based short stories so far from Simon Cornish. 

Cat-Scan will be streamed over the course of a week, so keep your twitter ears open. 

Broadcast as a twitter stream from 9.00am (GMT) 14th May until 4.00pm 20th May on @temporaltales

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Venetian

Friday 10th February, between 14.00 and 18.00 EST, and 20.00 and midnight GMT, for your edification and amusement, Temporal Tales will present The Venetian, a temporal tale by Simon Cornish @Unforgivingmuse.

Who is Nigel Chundleblanket and exactly what does he want?

A classic interpretation of 'a man walks into a bar'.

In yet another experiment with the format, this short tweeted story has been laid out as a reported conversation. The tweets on Friday will be coming thick and fast so hold onto your seats and keep your feeds open.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Wax & Feathers

A Tweet Tragedy

The next Temporal Tale up for your delectation is Wax and Feathers: in which Icarus learns his last lesson when he ignores the advice of his father the famed craftsman Daedalus. A classic cautionary tale that sticks a finger in the eye of both arrogance and ambition.

Broadcast Wednesday 18th January through to Friday 20th. 9.00 am EST (2.00 pm GMT) on @TemporalTales.

Not only does it plug directly into man’s desire to fly, the story of Icarus generates resonance down through the history of storytelling on so many levels: heed the wisdom of your elders, know your limitations, read the bloody instruction manual. I’ve added no twists, there’s no jet packs or magic; it is simply my interpretation of a well known story. The ending is known, it’s how we get there that I hope is worth reading.

This particular version of the story wasn’t written expressly as temporal fiction, but it was written entirely as dialogue which makes it eminently suitable —if a little different to what has been broadcast so far. The only major issue I had was whether to send it out over one day or three. The play-like structure, however, made the decision for me; it will be broadcast over three days as three acts.

The format of Wax and Feathers is a departure from the diary-style text updates from the protagonist as narrator of the previous stories. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but this is an experiment to see how something more traditional can be drip-fed over the twitter ether and still work as a narrative.

The other departure is that it is a dialogue and not a monologue. This introduces its own problems, especially as I haven’t ascribed the character’s names to each line, though I hope that there is sufficient individual voice for each character to make them identifiable, but we shall see.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Was HoBloodyHo a Success?

What defines success in a story: originality, flawless delivery, getting an audience or something else?
Given that it achieved what I had set out for it to achieve, the answer to it being successful has to be yes. Once again, I’ve demonstrated that a story can be told in the kind of discreet packets that twitter allows. The story was delivered smoothly using the scheduling offered by tweetdeck (the older version not the new cut-down version from twitter) which allowed me to continue life without being enslaved to tweeting every half hour. I even managed to deliver a second stream with a five hour delay for US Eastern Standard time. Okay, twitter itself nearly ground to a halt around Christmas Eve as it groaned under the weight of festive well-wishing and I’m still not sure if I should deliver solely on US time or have a mirror twitter channel broadcasting in GMT as well, but no real problems. The story itself certainly had its moments, and even garnered some compliments from the followers. 

However, I’ll be the first to say it wasn’t perfect. Actually the editor, Gordon O’Sullivan was the first, but that’s getting off the point. It wasn’t a bad story, a drop of humour, a bit of dramatic tension, betrayal, and the odd twist –all good ingredients, but was it right for the medium? Perhaps, as Gordon pointed out, it suffered from too many characters and a little too much complexity. Perhaps it was over-long to keep people abreast of the developments, yet still recall what those developments were based upon. It’s interesting to note that often with new formats, people need to become accustomed to the nuances and conventions inherent in the medium, as do the creators. (Lev Manovich's book The Language of New Media, outlines this admirably.)
At the end of the day it did work on many levels, and more importantly it was a way to explore the medium and prove that a tale can be told over time, as well as in short bursts. I know I can improve and I know there will be others who can do even better.

The whole of the HoBloodyHo story has now been placed in the correct order in the newly sorted out Previous Stories archive. Anyone following @HoBloodyHo may also have noticed that it's changed into the @TemporalTales twitter stream ready for the next tale later this month. Apologies for any disorientation this may have caused and I hope no-one is put-off by the transformation. Deep apologies to anyone who had started following the original @TemporalTales stream, victims of the 'I only just thought of that' way my mind works.

More on that later.

In the mean-time, I hope that HoBloodyHo has achieved a good start for the temporal tale and that it’s sparked a few ideas in people’s heads.

Simon Cornish

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Temporal Tales The Website

Having got the bit between my teeth with this whole idea of streaming real-time stories through twitter, I've now created a new twitter channel @TemporalTales  dedicated to the format, but how is this new way of telling and distributing short fiction through twitter even going to work?

No, the wheel has not been reinvented, experiments in real-time storytelling, like Jeremy Bushnell's Imaginary Year, have been created before, but the demands of the twitter medium calls for a new format to put over the stories in a much more immediate way.
After the successful tweet broadcast of the Bad Hair Daze story in April 2010, I started writing a Christmas story that would be broadcast in December of that year, but workloads being what they are, the broadcast was delayed until this year and @HoBloodyHo will begin tweeting on the 15th December. I’ve been excited getting it all ready and working out the bugs to be able to schedule the tweets. Making a new twitter account for each story has worked for these first two pilot stories, but I’ve realised that to broadcast more stories on a regular basis needs a different solution. Having a tailor made twitter stream for a story looks great, but having to build up a following prior to the story launching is hard work, and most of that following will drift away once the story is over. The idea of a dedicated stream is a much more attractive option, allowing stories to be broadcast back to back (if I can get enough submissions). @TemporalTales has been created to do just that.

The channel is intended to be a platform through which new and established writers can show their ingenuity and writing talent in what is effectively a new format (in the same way that flash fiction is a new format) of real-time storytelling. It also allows links to blogs, books and websites to be placed in the credits that can directly promote the writer to a receptive audience. A supporting blog-based website with an archive will provide additional information about the stories and the writers.
The Temporal Tales twitter account is already up and ready for new followers and will start delivering tales as a channel in the new year. As a test it will be mirroring the tweets from the @HoBloodyHo story, but with a time delay so that the tweets can go at at Eastern Standard Time. The Temporal Tales website and blog are still being designed at the moment, but will up and running before @TemporalTales begins tweeting in anger.

In the meantime we are looking for submissions for new and imaginative stories to deliver when broadcasting begins. Please email stories in .doc or .pages format including a brief outline of what it is about to:

muse (at)
(I’ve used (at) instead of @ to defeat the bots. I’m sure you can figure out how to reassemble it). 

As a guide, stories should be from one day to two weeks in output duration. Please bear in mind the constraints of the medium when submitting stories, @BadHairDaze is an existing example of how a real-time story has worked. More details about @HoBloodyHo can be found here.