Twitter Helps Create A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure

Twitter might be considering a 10,000-character tweets for the future, but social media authors must currently wrestle to make the most of the platform's iconic 140-count limit. Most writers are anything but laconic, however, so the current confines make composing longer works on Twitter nearly impossible. The Twitter Poetry Club was the most literary endeavor the site had seen until recently, when author Jedediah Berry decided to write a choose-your-own-adventure story — with help from his followers — using Twitter's new Polls feature.

Now published in full on Berry's website, and still available to read on Twitter, "Untine" is the whimsical story of an owl baron, a carnival, and a girl with multiple forms. The tale has the feel of a Hayao Miyazaki film, and it's as refreshing as its author's storytelling method is innovative.

Between November 3 and January 17, Berry used Twitter Polls to allow readers the option of choosing verbs that dictate the characters' actions and responses, as well as nouns that shape the world of his story. Does the main character hear "dozens of tiny bells" or "great wings beating"? And does she meet "the advice witch" or "the owl baron"? Well, you obviously know the answer to that one.

Check out some select tweets and an excerpt below, and be sure to read "Untine" in its entirety once you're done.

He puffs his chest. The medals on his dusty jacket shine in the flashlight beam. “Child,” he says, “I have a mission for you.”

She bows so that he won’t see her roll her eyes. A mission from the owl baron usually means collecting new bells for his nest. But tonight he spreads his wings and says, “Quick, tell me what you most regret.”

She’s startled. A regret? She has no regrets. The owl baron must know that. “I regret nothing,” she says.

He ruffles his feathers. “Then nothing is your friend this night, and nothing will aid you. Listen. The forest is tined. A labyrinth. It branches and grows back upon itself.”

“And my mission?”

“Didn’t I tell you? To untine it, of course.” Then he is gone, back to his jangling nest, just a strange old owl in a man’s suit.