One of my favorite childhood games was the story-go-round. I first discovered it on a Boy Scout campout, as my troop gathered around the fire to toast marshmallows. Our scoutmaster would begin telling a story, but stop after a few sentences of exposition and prompt the next kid in line to continue from where he had left off. And so we’d elaborate, one by one, each improvising the next crazy direction for our story to go, until it was the scoutmaster’s turn again, and he would attempt to tie up all the lose ends and conclude the tale.
I realized two things: First, Boy Scouts aren’t actually very good storytellers, and eventually every plot ended up involving aliens and X-Men blowing everything up. Second, most kids don’t really even like storytelling. Once the novelty of the game wore off, nobody wanted to play anymore. Except me. I’m a wordie kind of guy. It’s in my blood.
I’ll assume it’s in your blood too, or you wouldn’t be reading Errata. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be great if we could use the internet to play a grown-up version of the story-go-round, where contributors actually know how to write and are passionate about doing so? Sounds like a heck of a time waster, if nothing else. Good news: we can.
I’d like to say I came up with idea, but alas. It’s a new site I recently discovered, where anyone can write short stories called “ficlets.” Very very short stories, actually. There’s a 1,024 character limit for each one. What’s fun is the ability to write a sequel or prequel to any ficlet on the site, and others can do the same with yours. Even if you don’t feel like writing, it’s pretty cool to read others’ stories from beginning to end and see the unique ideas and writing styles presented by each author.
(This was originally posted on the old errata by uselessness)