HIS novels run into hundreds of thousands of words – but if Charles Dickens had been challenged to write his stories in a text message this is what they might have looked like.
Now residents are being invited to follow in the footsteps of the great Portsmouth-born author and try out their literary talent.
Portsmouth City Council wants children and adults to see how much fun they can have creating a little tale on any topic that takes their fancy – using a maximum of 140 characters.
Denyse King, 44, aka DJ Kirkby, writer-in-residence for Portsmouth libraries, wrote the abridged Oliver Twist text in our picture montage and says she will be having a go.
She said: ‘I think Dickens would have embraced this whole-heartedly.
‘He was a man from very humble beginnings who had to work from an early age and he acknowledged that made him a better writer – because he understood the common people.
‘He went out and raised money for ragged schools, and if he were around today and those pupils were into their mobile phones and modern technology he’d be saying “get them texting!”’
Cllr Lee Hunt, cabinet member for culture, says he wants many people of all ages to enter the Short Story text challenge.
He said: ‘I would love to see lots of stories about our city and people’s experiences of it, and how they feel it might be improved.
‘What’s great about this challenge is that we will hear from people who wouldn’t normally respond to a traditional story-writing challenge.
‘I’m looking forward to reading the entries!’
Text 81333 and start your message with SCR POR, followed by your short story of no more than 140 characters by March 20.
Texts will be charged at standard network rates, and stories not shown on the BBC Big Screen from 6pm to 8pm on March 24 will be published on the council’s website.
A MERMAN’S TALE:
A mermaid in Portsmouth enchanted a sailor who set out on an epic sea voyage to find a missing charm from the Mary Rose to give him fins 2.
TRUTH WILL OUT:
Saintly spinster May Fry retires to a quiet hamlet - but a hideous secret behind the missing 3rd finger on her left hand catches up with her