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 keeps me writing, but I genuinely love the idea and the practise, and occasionally I feel I manage to write something I’m truly proud of.
Some months ago, I ran a competition for the 100th Chocolate Lightbulb story. Well, the months have zipped by in 50-word bursts, and on checking my Dashboard I realised that the 200th story is due to be published on Christmas Eve. I couldn’t let that opportunity pass without some fun! So I’m now running a quick CLE200 competition.
Send your suggested titles to harry[dot]lodestone[at]gmail[dot]com, marked “CLE200 Competition” by 12 Midday on December 24th. For the first time I’m suggesting a theme: anything to do with celebrations timed around the winter solstice, from Hannukah to Kwanzaa and everything in between. Apart from that, the title can be anything at all: a prize phrase you’ve been saving up, a made-up word, a sentence from the back of a cereal packet, anything.
The author of the title I choose for the 200th story (publishing delayed ’til Christmas Day itself) will win a hand-made, illustrated copy of the story, sent via the mail. I may or may not choose runners-up, depending purely on whim. But I do promise to write a story for every person who sends a suggestion. I do now receive too many titles to write a story for every one, but feel free to send multiple entries in any case.
Thanks for reading, and for your suggestions!