Reading a Novel, 140 Characters at a Time

With a main character named Esmerelda Van Twinkle, you’d think Matt Stewart wouldn’t have much trouble attracting attention to his new novel, “The French Revolution.”

But rather than, say, holding a release party or kicking off a bookstore tour, he’s releasing snippets of the book, bit by bit and in chronological order, on Twitter. The 140-character limit and abbreviated language used on Twitter may seem contrary to the objectives of literary fiction, but as he writes on his Web site, “July 14 is Bastille Day — the day that kicked off the real French Revolution. It’s the perfect time to do something crazy.”

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