I just recently went there again to read a story posted by Wil Wheaton. (yeah, that Star Trek guy I like, who is an hawesome author) Wil’s story was basically amazing – the kind of thing I wish I could come up with. It was also inspirational, because I resurrected my ficlets username and wrote a few ficlets.
I wrote a disasterbation piece about someone in my line of work being taken hostage by an angry gun toting customer. I wrote a very vague piece about the world ending, and someone counting down the minutes. This one has inspired a few people to write sequels and prequels – one of the neatest aspects of ficlets.
Actually, I’ll let Wil sum it up, as he already did so well here.
“What does “collaborative short fiction” mean in this case? Simple: You, as a writer, post a very short (not more than 1,024 characters [Jeff’s note: If you get 1024 characters exactly it marks your ficlet as “ficlet nirvana”]) piece of fiction or a fiction fragment on the Ficlets site. People come to Ficlets to read what you’ve written, and to comment on your piece. If they want to, they can also write a “sequel” to your story or story fragment, carrying the story forward from where you left it. Or, alternately, they can write a “prequel,” explaining how you got to where you are in the story. All sorts of people can write all sorts of sequels and prequels — and of course, other people can write sequels and prequels to those. What you end up with is a story with multiple authors and multiple branchings — lots of possibilities and surprises.”
I am amazed at how a story I wrote can inspire 6 other people to write short stories based on it, and how I can surf between the prequels and sequels, and end up reading alternative “dimensions” on my story. It’s hard to describe, but say someone writes two prequels to my story. Someone else comes along and writes one sequel, and someone writes a sequel to that. In the hierarchy it is in the same point as my story, but is different.
Just for fun I tossed the RSS feed of my stories into the sidebar – you can go click on them and read them. If you sign up you can post comments on them, continue them, prequel them, or just write your own.
If you do sign up, send me your username so I can add you to my watchlist.