Ficlets is this cool collaborative writing project that I occasionally play with as I work out my creative writing muscles. Ficlets takes the philosophy that creativity is born of necessity and applies it ruthlessly: writers only get 1024 characters -- not words, but characters -- to tell a little bit of a story.
Where Ficlets really shines, though, and what makes it so unique and inspiring, is that it's a collaborative writing process; each story has a link attached to it that can be used to write a prequel or sequel to any of the stories people submit (which are all released under a creative commons license.) Stories can have lots of different prequels and sequels, too, as each ficleteer finds and expresses their own inspiration.
There have been some fantastic prequels and sequels written around some of the stories I've put up there, but today was the first time I was ever inspired enough to write one of my own.
Last night I saw that Will Hindmarch (a very creative a hoopy frood) had written a really quirky and awesome story. I instantly wanted to build upon it, but nothing came into my mind. I told my brain to run it as a background process until it returned something useful, and at 7 this morning I suddenly woke from a deep sleep with the entire idea fully formed (core dumped, if you will) in my head.
Because the ficlets are so short, it's not really practical to excerpt them, so I'll just direct you to Will's story, A Loaded Gun in the Mailbox, which you should read first, and my story, An Unremarkable Factory.
The challenge I gave myself was to not just write an interesting piece of fiction inspired by Will's, but to also write it in a style that flowed well with his. At the risk of sounding entirely too pleased with myself, I'm very happy with the result.
If you want to take the Creative Commons experience all the way, listen to tracks five and six of Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts I while you read mine. I had them on while I wrote it.