You may have noticed some peculiar stories in the third column if this website. That’s a feed from the Chocolate Lightbulb Experiment, the crowd-sourced micro-fiction blog I’ve been running off-and-on for over a year now, and mainly on since January.
The idea behind the site came from a game I played at a writers’ event in a pub some years ago, when I passed round a sheet of paper and got people to write down titles; I e-mailed them micro-fictions from them in return. Now people e-mail me titles and I post 50-word stories three times a week on the blog; generally I go with the first idea that comes into my head from the title, however absurd or banal. It began partly as a practise exercise, but has become a writing and publishing stylistic experiment in its own right — it’s been a pleasure watching the number of readers gradually rise and the number of titles develop into a steady flow, to the point where soon I’ll have to stop promising to write a story for every title.
In any case, this Wednesday May 5th will see the writing and publishing of the hundredth story, so I thought I’d run a little small-scale competition. I’m accepting title suggestions for CLE#100 — by e-mail, Facebook update, Twitter reply, or blog comment — and the author of the title I choose to write from (not necessarily the best title, but the one which gives me the idea I like most) will have that published on the day, and also receive by mail a hand-written and illustrated copy of the story, signed and mounted, in a limited edition of 1.
I’m only a tiny scale artist right now, but it is what I want to do, and to be able to live off, so this is also an experiment in figuring out what people might eventually want to pay me to do, or buy off me. I’m considering hand-making some art-books of my favourite CLE stories, or potentially doing runs of nicely-made hand-written copies. I’ll be trying a few things out like this and looking for feedback, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
But for now, send me your titles! It can be something you read on the back of your breakfast cereal box, a phrase that’s niggled your head for years, a random collection of words that splurged out of you when you clicked to e-mail — anything. Best way is to e-mail harry[dot]lodestone[at]gmail[dot]com, marked “CLE#100 competition”. I’m really enjoying looking at what’s coming in already; send soon! Deadline is midday May 4th.