In the last 24 hours I’ve used Twitter to mock Anne McCaffrey’s legacy*, imagine the murder of a porpoise, and send pictures of my sex toys to a young woman who I’ve never met face to face. Somewhere in there I also gave straight-faced advice on the proper and improper uses of Twitter.
I try not to let these sorts of glaring hypocrisies bother me.
They give people something to talk about, if nothing else. Call them conversation-starters. They lack the sort of tangible, career-related impact that, say, linking to my blog or a piece I’ve written brings, but frankly a feed full of nothing but those is about as interesting as earwax.
Actually, earwax is kinda interesting some time. Mine always gets thick and black when I’m sick with a ‘flu or throat bug or whatever. Why would it even do that?
The point is that this isn’t actually about Twitter. It’s about writing in general, and the value of the absurd insertion. People like it when you surprise them. Not in the sense of dramatic plot twist surprise, just in the sense of someone saying something completely unexpected.
Don’t be afraid to do this. It doesn’t have to be in dialogue. Your narrative voice can spend a sentence noticing something completely absurd and only barely related to the subject and hand, and remarking on it. Our brains do that all the time: “Huh, look at that big guy on the subway car. I bet he could really mess me up. Jeez he looks angry. I wonder what’s for dinner?”
Let a little of that shine through sometimes. I think it adds spice.
Just don’t tweet any naughty pictures of yourself to strange women.
*Before you get indignant, it was only the playful suggestion that they could build her a tomb out of her own books without having to use a single title more than once. The woman did write.