Stories by
Ben White (@benwhitemd)

Our second author spotlight month features Sean Vivier, showcasing four fine tiny tales appearing weekly on Wednesdays.

This December marks Nanoism’s first author spotlight since its inception over six years ago. Every week this month, we’re featuring a story by the same author: one of our very favorites, R. Gatwood (@iwantanewhead). Enjoy!

I started this site as a venue for thoughtful Twitter fiction in March of 2009, which means that Nanoism is now over 6 years old.

At the time of its founding, it was the first non-genre publication for Twitter fiction, as well as the first of its variety to pay its authors (@thaumatrope, now defunct, was the original pioneer). With 6 years and over 600 stories in its archives, @Nanoism remains the longest continuously running site/account of its kind. Thank you for reading.

There’s a new very short story anthology coming out later this year. It’s called Best Small Fictions, and this year it’s edited by Tara L. Masih and Pulitzer-prize winning author Robert Olen Butler(!). Pretty neat.

The five nominations from last year’s Nanoism lineup (in order of publication):

As an editor, I’ve often been remiss in my efforts to promote the wonderful writing I receive in my inbox every day for anthologies, awards, etc. While one of our tiny tales making it all the way for Best of the Web etc will always be an uphill climb due to their (very) brief nature, I want to thank the thousands of authors who have submitted and the hundreds of authors I’ve published for their writing. It’s an honor and pleasure to read and present your work.

Five years ago, we created @nanoism to be the very first paying publication for literary Twitter fiction, celebrating the very best stories that fit in the cracks of your day. Five years later and Nanoism remains the longest continuously running magazine dedicated to #TwitterFiction of all time. We’ve published nearly six hundred stories from over four hundred writers and inspired people across the world to think big but write small.

Well that sounds a bit over the top, doesn’t it?

Really, we just appreciate a good story and love to celebrate it in the world’s favorite tiny format. In honor of our five-year anniversary and this year’s #TwitterFiction festival, we’re doing a contest. It’s simple:

  • You send us one story of up to 140 characters (of course) by April 1st at 11:59 PM to
  • No titles, please. We don’t publish them. The whole thing must fit in one tweet.
  • We don’t want bios or cover letters or anything extra. We’ll get that from you later if we need it.
  • You don’t pay us anything. You do spread the word and tell your friends.
  • We anonymize the submissions and then pick our very favorite.
  • The winner gets $100.
  • Yes, that’s almost a dollar per character.

Here’s the bonus kicker: We’re finally doing the Nanoism anthology we’ve always promised. Not only is every contest entry eligible for publication on our site and Twitter feed, but the very best will included in our ultimate compilation of teeny-tiny stories.

So send us something you love.

We accepted themed submissions during the very first official #twitterfiction festival, and it resulted in our first daily publication schedule in Nanoism’s almost four year history. Here were our selections:

Wednesday: the classics, revisited

  • 516 by Sean Vivier
  • 517 by Mari Ness

Thursday: generations

  • 518 by Christopher Hivner

Friday: legen—wait for it—dary

  • 519 by Cheryl Chancellor

Saturday: the practical and mundane

  • 520 by Leann Orris

Sunday: an alternate present

  • 521 by Matan White

Now, back to our usual routine for promoting itty-bitty stories week in and week out.

We’ve been at this a while. Over 3.5 years in fact (a lifetime in internet years). So if people are going to be writing and talking about Twitter Fiction, you can bet your tweets that we’ll be publishing right alongside ’em. There’s a five day festival going on, and we’ll be publishing a brand new piece every day in a daily contest.

For the festival, our submissions process has changed. Unlimited submissions, every day. Send as many as you want, as long they are inspired (loosely) by these daily themes:

Wednesday:  the classics, revisited
Thursday: generations
Friday: legen—wait for it—dary
Saturday: the practical and mundane
Sunday: an alternate present

Send your pieces to Try to leave room for the story to end with “#twitterfiction” and don’t forget your third-person bio. All submissions will be considered for regular publication (naturally). Each winner will be published the following day.

Happy writing.

After over three years of Nanoism and reaching our 500th story last week (milestone!), we’re making a very significant change to our publication schedule. In fact, it’s a pretty big change for a site featuring such tiny tales.

From now on, Nanoism will be publishing one story per week (on Wednesdays). Everything else stays the same. Okay, so maybe not that big of a change.

We still love reading these tiny tales. Our new schedule will give each new selection some serious time at the top of our site.

This year we converted $50 in prize money into $400 of charitable donations to wonderful organizations working from animal health to global health, clean water to fighting hunger. Thanks to everyone who donated! Without further ado, here are Robert Swartwood’s selections for this year:

  1. Johnna Talbot
  2. Pat Tompkins
  3. Sarah Stanton

Honorable mention: Jackie Bateman

Winners will be published beginning this week, starting with our honorable mention and running through Monday the 23rd, when our big (but equally small) winner will go live.  Thank you everyone for your generosity.

Dearest Nanofans,

You may have thought 2011 would come and go without an opportunity to participate in yet another great bite-sized creative-writing contest extravaganza. But you’d be wrong, since we’re squeezing our annual contest into the last sliver of the year. For those of you familiar with our charity contest last year, the gist is the same. It’s the holiday season, and what better way to end the year than with stories that fit anywhere and with money flowing to those who need it most.

The Details:

  • The contest is open starting now until 11:59pm on January 1st, 2012.
  • Everyone and anyone gets one free entry to the contest.
  • Every dollar you donate to the charity of your choice (after December 5, 2011) gets you another entry.
  • Every dollar you donate also nets you a chance to win one of our randomly-awarded prizes, which are listed below.
  • This year’s judge is none other than Robert Swartwood, the father of Hint Fiction (our well-titled sibling in the world of itty bitty stories). Mr Swartwood has also graciously donated an ebook copy of his new very short fiction collection, Phantom Energy, to all donating contestants.

(If you’re in need of a charitable inspiration, we heartily recommend Partners in Health, an NGO healthcare group that help build hospitals as well as staff, teach, and provide healthcare in some places that need it desperately, including Haiti, where their amazing work continues).

Cash Prizes (+publication/fame):

1st place: $25
2nd place: $15
3rd place: $10
Honorable mentions: A virtual pat on the back.

The prize pool (for those who donate)

Everyone will receive an ebook edition of Phantom Energy, as well as a chance to win prizes from some amazing publications that deserve your support all year long:


  • Email entries to (once again, you get one free one) up until 11:59pm on January 1, 2012.
  • Please also email proof of your charitable donation (dated after December 5, 2011) in some form or another (forwarded confirmation email, photo, scan, whatever) to let us know to count your additional entries. All entries will be considered for publication.
  • You can send your free entry first then charitable ones. All together. Some now, some later. It doesn’t matter.
  • Other than your new donation, all we need for now is your name and the stories. Cover letters, extensive contact info, and bios are unnecessary.
  • If you’ve been randomly selected for a raffle prize, we’ll contact you for your info (and to make sure you don’t receive a prize you already own!)

Questions, concerns, want to donate something for the prize pool? Ask in the comments or email us.